NPR: With Space Shuttle Retired, Private Ventures Give Brevard County A Boost

By  //  May 29, 2016

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research, development and manufacturing

Brazlian jet maker Embraer employs about 600 people in Melbourne, Fla., and is expanding. (Greg Allen/NPR image)

Brazlian jet maker Embraer employs about 600 people in Melbourne, and is expanding. (Greg Allen/NPR image)

NPR.org – It has been five years since NASA retired the space shuttle, ending a federal program that employed some 10,000 people around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The loss of those jobs was a blow to Florida’s Space Coast, an area closely identified with NASA and the nation’s space program. But the region’s economy is bouncing back and attracting companies that are in a new space race.

In fact, it might be more accurate now to call it the Aerospace Coast. In 2009, the Brazilian jet maker Embraer gave this region a boost when it broke ground on its plant in Melbourne, Fla.

Plant director Phil Krull is proud of the spacious, remarkably quiet production area. A few air drills and some occasional clangs sound.

VIDEO: SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket First Stage Booster Returns To Port CanaveralRelated Story:
VIDEO: SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket First Stage Booster Returns To Port Canaveral

“This is about as noisy as you’re going to hear out here,” he says as he walks through the plant. At least a dozen small jets are in various stages of assembly. Krull says all the parts are shipped from Embraer’s home facility in Brazil.

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