- Florida’s Space Coast will host more than 100 space launches in 2024, according to Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez.
- The state is expected to hit 80 launches this year, a record number.
- The majority of launches have been conducted by SpaceX, with the majority taking place at Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 40.
Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez stated during a press conference on Monday that Florida’s aerospace industry is expecting to play host to more than 100 launches in 2024.
Nuñez told reporters during the event that Florida’s Space Coast will register 80 launches this year — a record number — and has scheduled 101 launches for next year.
“We anticipate this year 80 launches. And next year, we have over 101 launches scheduled,” said Nuñez. “A lot of launches are happening here. But beyond the launches, we also are leading the way in so many sectors of aerospace including research, national defense, and satellite manufacturing.”
Many of this year’s launches can be attributed to SpaceX, which has blasted more than 40 vessels into orbit and conducts a launch every five days on average. Nearly 75 percent of the company’s launches were held at Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 40, according to USA Today.
Elon Musk and SpaceX is set to face competition in Florida, however, as Amazon announced earlier this year that it is constructing a $120 million processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for its Kuiper internet satellite project. The facility, expected to be completed by late 2024, will be the final stop for Amazon’s Kuiper satellites before they are launched into space.
Early construction plans call for a 100,000 square feet facility that features a 100-foot tall high bay clean room, which will accommodate the payload fairing of heavy-lift rockets like Blue Origin’s New Glenn and ULA’s Vulcan Centaur. The new facility is also estimated to bring approximately 50 specialty jobs to the area.
The Kuiper network aims to provide global broadband internet coverage with 3,200 low Earth-orbiting satellites, directly competing with SpaceX’s Starlink. The satellite-processing facility will play a pivotal role in preparing and integrating Kuiper satellites with rockets from Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA) before they are launched.
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.
“We have an ambitious plan to begin Project Kuiper’s full-scale production launches and early customer pilots next year, and this new facility will play a critical role in helping us deliver on that timeline,” said Steve Metayer, vice president of Kuiper Production Operations. “We are proud to partner with Space Florida to bolster the growing space industry in Florida and elsewhere across the United States, and we look forward to adding more talent to our skilled operations and manufacturing team. These employees will play an important part in our mission to connect tens of millions of customers worldwide.”
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.