SPACE FLORIDA: Expect No ‘Negative Impact’ From SpaceX Explosion

By  //  July 8, 2015

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Cape Canaveral spaceport will continue to grow

The president of Space Florida doesn't anticipate short- or long-term setbacks for private operations at Cape Canaveral following last week's explosion of a cargo rocket shortly after liftoff. (SpaceX image)

The president of Space Florida doesn’t anticipate short- or long-term setbacks for private operations at Cape Canaveral following last week’s explosion of a cargo rocket shortly after liftoff. (SpaceX image)

BREVARD COUNTY CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA — The president of Space Florida doesn’t anticipate short or long-term setbacks for private operations at Cape Canaveral following last week’s explosion of a cargo rocket shortly after liftoff.

Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello also expressed optimism that SpaceX, the company that lost the rocket and a payload headed to the International Space Station, will soon be back on track to fly again.

DiBello’s comments came as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the California-based company founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and known as SpaceX, is expected to release more information later this week about the June 28 explosion.

“Expect to reach preliminary conclusions regarding last flight by end of week,” Musk tweeted Monday.

“Will brief key customers and FAA, then post on our website.”

Musk tweeted shortly after the failure that the rocket disintegrated as a result of an “overpressure event” in the oxygen tanks that are part of the Falcon rocket’s upper stage. Since then, Musk has been more guarded on social media, and the company, which has grounded operations, hasn’t offered further speculation.

Frank DiBello

Frank DiBello

“SpaceX, in spite of the accident, will be able to get back on their feet very quickly,” DiBello told reporters Tuesday in Tallahassee.

“They’re very adept at identifying what’s wrong in the past and fixing it quickly. I think that they’ll get to bottom of this pretty quickly.”

DiBello has generally maintained a positive view about the future of the industry.

Days after the explosion, he called the disaster a “mishap.” And on Tuesday, he reiterated that it would take “multiple” disasters to hinder aerospace progress at the cape.

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“I don’t see it having any negative impact on the expansion of the Cape Canaveral spaceport,” DiBello said.

“The total Cape Canaveral spaceport, I think, will continue to grow and respond to meet commercial market needs.”

Space Florida is a quasi-governmental agency created to expand the state’s space industry.

DiBello was at Florida State University’s Alumni Center to address the Economic Club of Florida on the status of the agency.

State lawmakers budgeted $10 million for the operations of the agency in the fiscal year that started last week.

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Space Florida also got $1 million to support collaborative aerospace and technology research with Israel and another $1.5 million to promote businesses involved in space tourism.

Earlier this month, Space Florida agreed to take over the former Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center.

The plan is to use the three-mile runway as a testing ground for new companies and technologies for the next 30 years.

Space Florida, which intends to charge fees to private companies to use the grounds, is expected to pump about $5 million into upgrades.

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