Florida expands aerospace infrastructure with new spaceport territories in Miami-Dade and Bay counties

by | Jul 3, 2024

Florida has expanded its aerospace infrastructure by designating new spaceport territories in Miami-Dade and Bay counties, under legislation that broadens funding eligibility for spaceport improvement projects and aims to enhance the state’s capacity for space transportation and commerce.

The State of Florida has designated new spaceport territories, as of July 1, expanding its aerospace infrastructure following the enactment of legislation that broadens the definition of spaceport discretionary capacity improvement projects and authorizes supplementary funding.

The newly designated territories include properties within Miami-Dade County that were formerly part of Homestead Air Force Base and are now part of Homestead Air Reserve Base or deeded to Miami-Dade County or the City of Homestead. Additionally, properties within the boundaries of Tyndall Air Force Base in Bay County have been incorporated into the spaceport territories. According to state lawmakers, expansions are intended to enhance space transportation capacity and attract more aerospace activities to the state.

“This is a very important step forward in making sure that territory across Florida is utilized for space commerce and that Florida maintains our cutting edge in the aerospace industry by diversifying the places in which companies can come to our state,” said bill sponsor Sen. Alexis Calatayud during a Senate floor session.

In it’s capacity, the measure, Senate Bill 968, revises the definition of spaceport discretionary capacity improvement projects to include any capacity improvements that enhance space transportation at spaceports or on spaceport territories. This change removes the previous requirement that spaceports must have had recent orbital or suborbital flights to qualify for funding, thus broadening the scope of eligible projects.

In consultation with Space Florida, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is now authorized to fund spaceport discretionary capacity improvement projects. These projects can receive up to 100 percent of their costs covered if they meet certain criteria, which includes providing important access and capacity improvements on spaceport territory, achieving capital improvements that strategically position the state to maximize opportunities in international trade, aligning with the goals of an integrated intermodal transportation system, and demonstrating the feasibility and availability of matching funds from federal, local, or private partners.

“Today marks a significant milestone for Florida’s aerospace industry as we officially welcome Tyndall Air Force Base and Homestead Air Reserve Base into Florida’s spaceport territories,” Rob Long, president and CEO of Space Florida said. “This legislative change reflects our commitment to establishing Florida as the premier global and interplanetary capital for aerospace commerce.”

The bill also eliminates the prerequisite for a spaceport to have conducted at least one orbital or suborbital flight in the prior year, or to have an agreement for future flights, to qualify for state funding under the joint participation agreement and Space Florida’s master plan.

Prior to the legislation going into effect, Florida had two federally owned spaceports and four FAA licensed commercial spaceports.

The legislation comes as Florida’s aerospace industry expects to play host to more than 100 launches in 2024 and Amazon nears completion of a $120 million processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for its Kuiper internet satellite project. The facility, expected to be fully constructed by late 2024, will be the final stop for Amazon’s Kuiper satellites before they are launched into space.

Amazon plans to ship its first batch of satellites for processing at the Florida facility in the second half of 2025. To meet regulatory requirements, the company is aiming to deploy at least half of the Kuiper satellite network into orbit by 2026.

The facility is also the latest in a series of Amazon investments in the state of Florida. Amazon has secured 77 heavy-lift launch vehicles to deploy its satellite constellation, most of which will be provided by U.S. launch providers Blue Origin and ULA, and launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.


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