Groundbreaking Ceremony at Kennedy
NASA and Space Florida are one giant step closer in their efforts to attract high tech companies to Brevard County, Fla., and ultimately, the high tech jobs that go with them. Space Life Sciences Laboratory and site of Exploration Park

Image: An aerial view shows land, the site for Exploration Park, located near the Space Life Sciences Laboratory between Kennedy Parkway and Space Commerce Way at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana and Program Manager for Strategic Partnerships at Kennedy, Jim Ball

Image: Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana, right, walks with Jim Ball, program manager for Strategic Partnerships at Kennedy to the ground breaking site of Exploration Park outside of the Space Life Sciences Laboratory. Photo Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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Exploration Park groundbreaking ceremony

Image: Program Manager for Strategic Partnerships at Kennedy Jim Ball, left, Kennedy Deputy Director Janet Petro, Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana, Florida Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, The Pizzuti Companies Chairman and CEO Ron Pizzuti, and Space Florida President Frank DiBello, break ground on Exploration Park outside of the Space Life Sciences Laboratory. Photo Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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Senior leadership from NASA's Kennedy Space Center and Space Florida and local, state and Congressional leaders held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Exploration Park, June 25, at the Space Life Sciences Laboratory, or SLSL, at the center. Florida Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, Florida Reps. Suzanne Kosmas and Bill Posey, State Senators Mike Haridopolos and Thad Altman, State Rep. Rich Workman, business leaders and many others helped mark the event.

Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana said he was pleased to be able to break ground on this venture, which he believes will play a very key role in helping Kennedy take advantage of new opportunities emerging from the transition that has begun.

"Exploration Park will help facilitate the center's future state, 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," Cabana said.

"The future of space is right here, right now," said Lt. Gov. Kottkamp. "This groundbreaking sends a message, not just to the rest of the country, but to the world, that Florida is going to compete on the world stage for space business. "We have an amazing 50-year history with the best space launch work force in the world here. We have so much to build on," Kottkamp said.

"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."

"It's my hope that this partnership will showcase the tremendous talent that we have to offer and the opportunities for growth and development that are available to commercial companies and academia. Exploration Park offers the best of both worlds, and thanks to our state and local elected officials, we are developing the necessary infrastructure to make this a reality," Cabana said.

Exploration Park will be located outside Kennedy's security gate, adjacent to the SLSL, for servicing diverse tenants and uses that will engage in activities to support the space and space-related activities of NASA, other government agencies, the U.S. commercial space industry, and attract new aerospace work to the Space Coast.

Cabana said it is a strategically located complex that will allow the SLSL to realize its full potential. Phase 1 is currently expected to include eight new buildings totaling 315,000 sq. ft. Space Florida signed a 60-year lease with NASA to develop 60 acres of usable space on Kennedy property for the park. The park is slated to open its first new facility in early 2012.

Jim Ball, Kennedy's program manager for strategic partnerships, said Exploration Park will help support a robust commercial space transportation industry, its customer and supplier base, and facilitate a cluster of research and technology activities that advance NASA's mission.

Exploration Park's Master Developer is The Pizzuti Companies, of Columbus, Ohio. The company's southeast regional office is in Orlando.

"We are excited about our role as Master Developer in the creation of a sustainable, state-of-the-art research park," said Chairman and CEO Ron Pizzuti. "Exploration Park is a unique public-private partnership that will play a key role in the effort to retain and attract new jobs on Florida's Space Coast."

Linda Herridge
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center