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DiBello Optimistic About Space Coast Employment Recovery

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
January 11, 2011
Filed under , , , , ,
Space Florida President Frank DiBello

Space Florida President Frank DiBello

Space News has a Q&A with Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello, who is leading efforts to help rebuild the Sunshine State’s aerospace industry as NASA winds down its space shuttle program. DiBello expressed confidence that the thousands of jobs being lost can be replace by diversifying away from NASA toward a broader base that will include DOD, commercial space, aviation, and other high-technology areas where the state’s highly skilled workforce can thrive.  He is optimistic about attracting more launches to Cape Canaveral, which has been hit hard to low-cost foreign competition.

Hasn’t the commercial space industry left Florida?

If we only look at it as commercial satellite launch, the nation has lost that business to France and to Russia and others. And I believe that can be brought back, I clearly do. And I think we’re going to have to get very competitive, not only in the satellite construction industry but in the launch industry.

I think you can increase capacity to launch Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles, but the real future lies in the introduction of a whole new class of launch vehicles that can be introduced at competitive pricing.

You are referring to Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) with the Falcon 9?

SpaceX class, but I expect Taurus 2 to be there and there are a number of others as well. There’s the Athena family, there’s a Minotaur class of rockets, there are a number of systems being proposed that represent international collaborations that use engines from one country with systems from another, and I think you’re going to see a number of those being introduced into the marketplace. But you’re still dealing with a relatively flat market, which is why I think you need to position for the new players that are coming along that are going to want to do suborbital research.

Read the full interview.