The state’s aerospace authority is pressing ahead with plans for a commercial spaceport inside the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge at a site called Shiloh.
Space Florida is undeterred by Sen. Bill Nelson’s recent comments that the Shiloh spaceport won’t happen.
Frank DiBello, president and chief executive officer of Space Florida, says space companies are calling for a commercial spaceport free of government bureaucracy.
He says the Central Florida Democrat’s comments don’t complicate the agency’s position.
“We’re fully in sync with the senator and believe that in the long run what’s important is what Shiloh represents. And what Shiloh represents is a fully commercial space port with all of the commercial operating conditions that the industry requires.”
An environmental study is underway at the Shiloh site. Environmentalists oppose a commercial spaceport there.
DiBello says if Florida doesn’t offer the spaceport companies will launch elsewhere.
Nelson says the spaceport isn’t necessary now but might be in the future. He says the Space Coast already offers an array of launching capabilities for companies like Boeing and SpaceX.
“What you’re seeing is a rejuvenation of the commercial space business here in east central Florida.”
Blue Origin is expected to announce expansion plans for the Space Coast later this month