NASA & Space Florida Break Ground on Next-Gen Sci-Tech Park
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Work on a next-generation science and technology commerce park is under way at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. NASA, Space Florida, and local, state and Congressional leaders held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for Exploration Park at Kennedy's Space Life Sciences Laboratory (SLSL), adjacent to where the park will be built.
The SLSL will be the anchor facility for Exploration Park, which is expected to open its first new facility in early 2012. The park will host diverse aerospace-related research and development activities for interested commercial, civil and military tenants, and bring new work to Central Florida.
"Exploration Park will provide opportunities for enhancing commercial space capabilities to support NASA's mission, as well as the benefit of space commerce to the economy of this entire nation," said Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana. "I believe Exploration Park will play a very key role in helping Kennedy take advantage of new opportunities emerging from the transition we have begun and it will help facilitate the center's future, where we are the world's premiere spaceport, supporting a diversity of space transportation services and home to world-leading research and technology in space and space-related fields."
"Today's groundbreaking is a tremendous milestone in the transformation of Florida's $8 billion-a-year space industry and will enable the Sunshine State to tap into a greater share of the $250-billion global space marketplace," said Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
"Exploration Park is building on Kennedy Space Center's rich history of innovation," said Florida Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp. "The types of cutting-edge businesses that will operate from Exploration Park will play a significant role in growing Florida's innovation economy. On behalf of the State of Florida, we look forward to watching Exploration Park grow to become a leading research and technology campus for our state."
Phase 1 of Exploration Park currently is expected to include eight new buildings totaling 315,000 sq. ft. NASA signed a 60-year land-use lease with Space Florida to develop 60 acres on Kennedy property for the park, which also will incorporate the SLSL and facilitate other new laboratory and high bay capabilities. To date, six Letters of Intent have been signed by potential tenants of Phase 1 facilities. These companies cannot be identified at this time as they currently are protected under Non-Disclosure Agreements with Space Florida. Tenant announcements are anticipated in the near future.
In November 2009, NASA and Florida Power & Light, Florida's largest utility, announced plans for a new research and development facility to support continual improvement of solar renewable energy that would be established by SunPower and FPL's other partners at Exploration Park. The dedicated R&D facility could result in at least 50 high-salary science and engineering positions permanently established at Kennedy by SunPower and FPL's other partners, a potential for solar panel manufacturing located nearby and new construction jobs.
"We are thankful to our State legislators for leading the charge on attracting increased commercial opportunities to our state's space industry," noted Space Florida President Frank DiBello. "More than 1,700 jobs are possible within Phase 1 of this park, and we look forward to working with a wide variety of innovative companies to establish and grow their operations here."
For information about Space Florida and Exploration Park, visit: http://www.spaceflorida.gov
For more information about NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy
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