- SpaceX and Blue Origin representatives advocated for increased investment in Florida’s space infrastructure at a House subcommittee meeting, emphasizing the need for expanded facilities and workforce development to sustain aerospace sector growth.
- The companies warned of increasing competition from other states, touching on potential forthcoming limitations in port infrastructure, and urging committee members to plan for long-term support and development to keep pace with the industry’s growth.
- Both companies urged the adoption of policies supporting broadband expansion and workforce training, with an emphasis on developing a skilled labor pool including machinists and welders to meet industry demands.
Representatives from leading commercial aerospace entities SpaceX and Blue Origin on Thursday advocated to lawmakers on the House Regulatory Reform and Economic Development Subcommittee for further support and development of the state’s space infrastructure.
SpaceX’s Vice President of Satellite Policy, David Goldman, addressed House representatives and drew attention to a need for further investment in Cape Canaveral’s development to sustain the economic progression of the aerospace sector. To facilitate an increase in launches, he recommended a review and subsequent expansion of Florida’s capabilities to accommodate the industry’s growth, which would include increased workspace for recovery vessels and enhancements in regulatory frameworks.
“Continued support in infrastructure improvements and workforce development is vital to sustain the aerospace sector’s growth,” Goldman said.
Goldman also pushed for the adoption of technology-neutral policies for statewide broadband expansion, considering the advancements in satellite systems like Starlink, which SpaceX reports provides support for more than 50,000 households in Florida. Goldman further told lawmakers that the industry requires an expansion of the pool of qualified workers, calling for an increase in state-administered development and training programs.
“As SpaceX and other companies continue to rapidly grow in Florida, we support efforts to expand the pool of qualified workers, including machinists, welders, and other specialty trades,” he said.
Blue Origin’s Director of Government Relations Megan Mitchell warned of increasing competition from other states, touching on potential forthcoming limitations in port infrastructure, and urging committee members to plan for long-term support and development to keep pace with the industry’s growth.
“Florida must not become complacent but continue to incentivize and support aerospace companies,” said Mitchell. “As we look at the port, we do offer a very soft caution about the infrastructure that’s available right now, which is efficient, but by the Port Authority’s own admission, that may not be the case in the next few years.”
Mitchell further pointed to the necessity of a business-friendly environment, streamlined regulatory processes, and educational initiatives to develop a skilled workforce capable of meeting the industry’s demands, touching on many similar notes of progress as her SpaceX counterpart.
State lawmakers have placed an early focus on Florida’s commercial aerospace ecosystem, with Rep. Tyler Sirois filing a House Memorial to the United States Congress in October that seeks to designate spaceports as private activity bonds financing-exempt facilities under the Internal Revenue Code.
If accepted, Sirois’ filing would result in tax-exempt status for spaceport projects, ostensibly meaning that individuals, organizations, and investors involved in the development and operation of the facilities could issue bonds to raise funds without being subject to federal income tax on the bond interest. The designation would likely encourage investment in Floridian spaceport infrastructure, stimulate economic growth, and maintain the state’s stature as a leader in the commercial space industry.
Moreover, Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez stated during a press conference last week that Florida is expecting to play host to more than 100 launches in 2024.