March 8 Gathering in Tallahassee
Brings Attention to Key Industry
MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology physicist and two-time space shuttle astronaut Sam Durrance is headed to Tallahassee for the annual information and lobbying blitz known as Florida Space Day.
Happening Wednesday, Durrance and fellow astronaut Chris Ferguson will join more than a dozen additional representatives from the private sector, academia and government in meeting with House and Senate members and Gov. Rick Scott to discuss Florida’s space industry and determine the best strategies for leveraging economic development policies to attract private sector investment and jobs.
The business of space is a critical economic engine for Florida, resulting in the creation of close to 150,000 jobs in the state and bringing $20 billion in annual sales and revenues to the state’s economy, according to Space Day organizers.
Durrance, who spent 26 days in space as part of space shuttle missions in 1990 and 1995, will be on hand to discuss his experiences in orbit, his ongoing work at Florida Tech and the critical role space and aerospace plays across Florida.
“There are lot of space activities all over the state,” he said.
Pedro Medelius, space and defense chief technologist at ASRC Federal and chair of Florida Space Day 2017, added, “Even with active competition from spaceports in other states, Florida continues to be at the forefront of space exploration.”
And things promise to get busier, Medelius said.
“The frequency of commercial launch operations in suborbital and low-Earth orbit, as well as national program initiatives involving Orion and the Space Launch System for deep space human exploration, is expected to continue to expand in the upcoming years.”
Other Florida Space Day participants include Abacus Technology, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, Blue Origin, The Boeing Company, Craig Technologies, Delaware North Companies, Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, Embraer, Harris Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Orbital ATK, Space Florida and SpaceX.