|Posted on May 04, 2012 02:07:39 PM | Administrator Charles Bolden | 0 Comments ||
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Director, Robert Cabana, and Senator Bill Nelson were on hand today for an announcement by Colorado-based Sierra Nevada Corporation of its interest in expanding the company’s space operations on Florida’s Space Coast. The development serves as a reminder that the Space Coast is open for business and ready for a new era in space exploration.
Mark Sirangelo, Vice President of Sierra Nevada Space Systems, made the announcement today with state of Florida officials and the state’s aerospace economic development agency, Space Florida. This is great news for the Space Coast, which continues to be a critical focal point in our nation’s leadership in space exploration. It’s another major step forward in the bipartisan plan crafted by the President and Congress to transition transport of cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS) to private industry partners, so that NASA can focus on deep space exploration. The President’s plan puts us on track to have American companies transporting astronauts to the ISS by 2017, ending the outsourcing of this work and creating good-paying American jobs.
Sierra Nevada is among the companies that have signed Space Act Agreements with NASA in our Commercial Crew Development Program. The company is developing its Dream Chaser spacecraft that is being designed to launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) with the capability to safely transport astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station and land them safely back on Earth.
Last July, I was pleased to attend the signing of a Space Act Agreement with Sierra Nevada to involve KSC’s skilled workforce in launch preparations and post-landing activities for Dream Chaser. As Sierra Nevada follows through on moving more of its work to the Space Coast, it will be a boost to our efforts to bolster the local economy.
NASA has already taken steps to do just that. In fact, our Commercial Crew Program is headquartered at KSC and all the prospective companies involved are making substantial progress toward achieving crewed spaceflight.
The most exciting sign of thriving space activity on the Space Coast is the pending SpaceX launch to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral in the coming days. Last year, NASA signed an agreement with Space Florida to lease KSC’s Orbiter Processing Facility(OPF) -3 to Boeing to manufacture and test the company’s Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) spacecraft. In addition, workers at KSC are involved in preparing NASA’s new Space Launch System and Orion crew vehicle that will take our astronauts farther into the solar system than we have ever been – to an asteroid and eventually Mars. Building on the demonstrated capabilities and legacy of Florida’s Space Coast, President Obama’s 2013 budget includes a multi-million dollar investment to modernize and transform the launch infrastructure at KSC to benefit current and future users.
The thousands of Floridians who have contributed to the success of the American space program have much of which to be proud – for past achievements and those yet to come. Today’s announcement is one more reminder of the importance of the Florida Space Coast and its workforce – and the potential that lies ahead.
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