Space Florida Negotiating to Bring New Launcher to Cape Canaveral

Space Florida is negotiating with an unidentified company to bring a new launch vehicle to Cape Canaveral. Speculation focuses Boeing’s XS-1 Phantom Express partially-reusable booster, which is a project being funded by DARPA.

If it bases operations on the Space Coast, the company referred to by the code name Project First Down over four years would bring an estimated 254 jobs with an average salary of $80,000.

“It strategically positions Florida in a good program going forward, as a preparation for what we hope will become the kind of launch cadence that we’ve been predicting five to 10 years out,” Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello told his board of directors Monday. “This really sets the stage for our ability to demonstrate that Florida can respond to that kind of demand.”

The company is a “credit-worthy, going concern with industry experience” and is evaluating multiple states with active spaceports, said Howard Haug, Space Florida’s executive vice president, treasurer and chief investment officer.

The company will commit to the Cape, Haug said, if Space Florida partners in an approximately $30 million investment that includes a deal to finance $13 million in long-lead equipment.

Read the full story.