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Senate Sees boom in the Aerospace Industry

State officials told a Senate panel Wednesday that Florida’s 15-year-old space agency has found its first tenant for a 400-acre industrial park ringing Cape Canaveral’s former space shuttle runway and has doubled partnerships with commercial aerospace companies, with $2.8 billion in contracts “in the pipeline.” However, Space Florida Vice President Todd Romberger reminded the Senate Military & Veterans Affairs, Space and Domestic Security Committee that Florida confronts competition from other states, pointing out that the state ranks seventh nationwide in aerospace jobs, down from fifth three years ago.

According to Space Florida, the state’s public-private space development agency founded in 2006, Florida’s $20 billion aerospace industry employed at least 132,000 people in high-tech, high-wage employment in 2019, the most recent year for which numbers were available. While the Sunshine State has the nation’s second-highest number of aerospace companies, more people are working in high-wage aerospace positions in at least six states, according to Romberger, who leads Space Florida’s Spaceports Business Unit oversees five “spaceport” special districts.

Romberger told the panel that Space Florida aims to raise the state’s aerospace workforce to the fourth largest in the country by increasing its business investment portfolio to $10 million. The new deal between Space Florida and Terran Orbital, based in Boca Raton, is essential in achieving those objectives. Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Brevard County on Monday to announce that Terran Orbital will construct a $300 million satellite factory that will employ 2,100 people and create up to 1,000 satellites each year “from the smallest components to the finished product.”

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