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Florida Space Day Highlights Kennedy Accomplishments
Bob Cabana & Pam Bondi

Image above: Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, at left, talks to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi about the Kennedy Space Center's accomplishments. Photo credit: NASA Photo
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Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana met with Florida legislators at the Capitol in Tallahassee and spoke to students at Elizabeth Cobb Middle School during Florida Space Day activities March 5 and 6.

Cabana met with Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam and several state legislators to highlight Kennedy’s accomplishments during the past year and what’s ahead for 2013.

"Space Day is a great opportunity to update our state representatives about Kennedy Space Center's progress toward becoming a multiuser complex," Cabana said. Bob Crippen, former astronaut and Kennedy director, made appearances throughout the day and spoke to legislators about how important space is to the Florida economy.

“It is important for the state government to continue their support of space exploration,” Crippen said.

The middle school’s 850 students participated in hands-on workshops coordinated by Kennedy’s Education Office. They built a model of a planetary lander that will protect astronauts, learned about different water filtration products and viewed a main engine demonstration to learn about engine propulsion.

“Space Day is a great time for NASA to reach out to the Tallahassee community, and where better to make our presence known then at a middle school?” said Hortense Diggs, division chief of Kennedy’s Education Office. “These students may become the NASA workforce of the future, so it is vital that we get them excited and engage them in space-related activities today.”

Kennedy’s Display Management Team provided several exhibits in the Capitol rotunda that were viewed by legislators and the general public. The displays highlighted the past, present and future of the center, and recent accomplishments of the Commercial Crew (CCP), Grounds Systems Development and Operations and the Launch Services programs.

Also on display were models of CCP partners’ spacecraft: The Boeing Company’s CST-100, Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser, and Space Exploration Technologies’ (SpaceX) Falcon 9, as well as NASA’s Space Launch System.

Don White Jr., the chairman of Florida Space Day 2013, said Florida is home to nearly 450 aerospace companies that employ about 31,000 professionals.

“This year’s event was critical, as the state’s space industry looks to expand and diversify its space-related and non-traditional opportunities,” White said.

White said Florida Space Day is an opportunity to educate and bring top-of-mind awareness to Florida legislators on the significance of the aerospace industry and its impact on Florida’s economy.

This year’s participants were NASA, Abacus Technology Corp., AECOM, ASRC Aerospace Corp., American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, Astrotech Space Operations, ATK Space Systems, Bionetics, The Boeing Company, Brevard Workforce, Craig Technologies, CSR, Delaware North Companies, D3 Air & Space Operations Inc., Dynamac Corp., Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Also, Harris Corp., Indyne, ITT Exelis, L2 Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Millennium Engineering & Integration, National Space Society, Northrop Grumman, Space Gateway Support, QinetiQ North America, SAIC, Space Coast Launch Services, Space Florida, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and URS.

Linda Herridge
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center