NASA, Space Florida pen long-term manned flight idea

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Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida reports: Call it a Constellation consolation, but Florida officials on Monday hailed a new space venture that will bring hundreds of jobs to the Space Coast, which has been looking for a new mission to replace the shuttle program.

Gov. Rick Scott, state officials and executives of Boeing announced plans to begin building the next generation U.S. manned space flight vehicles at the Kennedy Space Center, which had been home to the shuttle for three decades.

Boeing will manufacture and test its spacecraft, dubbed Crew Space Transportation-100 or CST-100, with hopes of employing more than 500 workers by 2015, the year the new vehicle is scheduled to begin extensive flight testing and have its first commercial launch. The company said it plans to have more than 150 workers in place by 2013.

Kennedy will also be home for the CST-100 headquarters, a designation that will bring administrative jobs to the region.

Boeing officials say they plan to ramp up testing of the new vehicle, which is being touted as a relatively inexpensive, reusable launch technology that can take up to seven members and cargo into space.

Its first recurring destination is expected to be the International Space Station, which until then will rely upon Russian rockets to ferry supplies and crew members to the orbiting station.

“Florida has five decades of leadership in the space industry, which makes our state the logical place for the next phase of space travel and exploration,” Scott said in a statement released in conjunction with an event at the Kennedy Space Center. “Boeing

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