Legislation to broaden Florida’s spaceport territory signed into law

by | Apr 18, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation last week to expand Florida’s spaceport territories to include parts of Miami-Dade and Bay counties in a move expected to boost the state’s aerospace industry.

A recently-signed bill will expand Florida’s spaceport territories to include parts of Miami-Dade and Bay counties, enhancing support and funding for the state’s aerospace sector.

The bill, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last week, revises the definition of spaceport territories in Florida to include properties in Miami-Dade County that were previously part of Homestead Air Force Base — now within Homestead Air Reserve Base — or transferred to Miami-Dade County and the City of Homestead.

The bill also extends the spaceport territory to include areas within Tyndall Air Force Base in Bay County.

“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.

The legislation further facilitates capacity improvements at any spaceport or spaceport territory within the state and adjusts the eligibility for funding spaceport projects, allowing the Florida Department of Transportation, in collaboration with Space Florida, to support discretionary capacity improvement projects.

It 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.

Currently, Florida has 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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