Monday, October 11, 2010

Community leaders discuss Florida's space future

Several hundred community leaders, politicians and space industry representatives gathered Monday at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa to attend a forum titled "Diversifying Florida's Economy for the Future."

The first panel addressed ways to attract commercial space vendors with state grants and state programs.

"The state of Florida can incentivize these companies to come here, " said Will Trafton, a former Boeing executive and president of Will Trafton & Associates, LLC.

Kennedy Space Center Deputy Director Janet Petro said NASA is evolving to handle commercial and government launch programs. She acknowledged that it's a new direction for the space agency, and urged attendees to continue to support government financing for space initiatives.

Attendees included U.S. Rep Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, and U.S. Rep Bill Posey, R-Rockledge. Mary Bolin, chairwoman of the Brevard County Commissioners, was chairing the forum.

Officials said ideas that emerge from this forum, and others like it, should help community leaders to proactively lobby decision-makers on behalf of Florida's space industry.

-By Patrick Peterson

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