Thursday, January 12, 2012

More Space Business for the Space Coast

Three articles in this morning's Florida Today detail more business coming to the Space Coast.

United Launch Alliance has been awarded a $1.5 billion contract to launch nine military satellites. The launches will be at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in southern California.

The new contract calls for five Atlas V launches and four Delta IV missions by June 30, 2014, according to a Defense Department procurement notice posted this week.

Among the cargoes: three National Reconnaissance Office payloads, two Navstar Global Positioning System (GPS) spacecraft, two Defense Meteorological Satellites Program (DMSP) military weather satellites, an advanced Navy 3G communications spacecraft and a payload dubbed Air Force Space Command-4.

One hundred jobs are coming to Kennedy Space Center from a NASA contract awarded to a.i. solutions inc.

Work on the contract, known as Expendable Launch Vehicle Integrated Support 2, will be based at KSC but will include operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and other launch sites.

Tasks to support commercial and Air Force launches include technical integration, analysis, telemetry and oversight on behalf of NASA. The company has had a role in NASA’s Expendable Launch Vehicle program since 1998, including support to the predecessor contract. This new contract resulted from a competitive, small-business set-aside.

And state incentives funded by Space Florida will help the Space Coast to become "a hub for microgravity research."

Space Florida named three flight providers that have expressed interest in the program: Masten Space Systems of Mojave, Calif.; Zero-G Corp. of Arlington, Va.; and a partnership between Kennedy Space Center-based Starfighters Inc. and Star Lab, a project led by 4Frontiers Corp. of New Port Richey.

The incentives are the latest step in efforts to establish Florida as a hub for microgravity research, part of a broader strategy to diversify space operations after the shuttle.

Last year, Space Florida announced plans to buy seats for a researcher and experiments on Virgin Galactic’s suborbital flights from New Mexico. It also started a nonprofit selected to manage non-NASA research on the International Space Station.

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