Marco Rubio meets with Kennedy Space Center chief on Florida’s space future

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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio met with Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Director Bob Cabana on Wednesday to discuss the current and future plans.

During the meeting, Rubio stressed the importance of expanding the aerospace industry and space exploration opportunities in his home state of Florida.

Marco Rubio serves on the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space.

“Since our space program began, Florida has been America’s spaceport,” he said. “And we must continue playing a central role in 21st century space exploration.”

“It’s important that NASA and the commercial space industry coexist, in a way that benefits our nation’s space and science goals,” Rubio added, “as well as Florida’s long-standing role as a hub of space-related job creation.”

Marco Rubio is looking for ways to draw commercial space companies to launch from Florida, utilizing the state’s “unique” infrastructure and workforce as a pioneer in spaceflight. NASA recently issued a 20-year plan for the Kennedy Space Center, which will transform the space center from a single-use government facility to a flexible spaceport. The master plan calls for the addition of at least two additional launch pads for commercial launches.

“My hope is that NASA’s management plans for Kennedy do not put Florida at a competitive disadvantage, or deter or hamper commercial space entities from making full use of the facility and other potential launch sites in Florida,” Rubio said. “(Cabana) assured me that would not be the case, but this is something I’ll continue exploring.”

Rubio also noted that competition for commercial space industry activity is ferocious among states like Florida, Texas and Georgia, but Florida offers decades of proven experience as a space launch hub, and state leaders must continue “working aggressively to keep it that way.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.