Firefly Aerospace To Set Up Shop at KSC’s Exploration Park, Will Generate 200 Jobs
By Space Coast Daily // February 22, 2019
Firefly will use Space Launch Complex 20
BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FLORIDA — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Brevard Friday and announced Texas-based Firefly Aerospace will set up shop at Kennedy Space Center’s Exploration Park to manufacture, test and launch rockets from Cape Canaveral.
Officials said that the Firefly Aerospace program, which will join SpaceX, Blue Origin, OneWeb, and several other companies operating on the Space Coast, is expected to invest $52 million and generate 200 jobs in Brevard County.
“In a ceremony today at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station SLC-20, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the $52 million expansion of Firefly Aerospace in Florida and the development of SLC-20 for Firefly launch,” said Firefly Aerospace officials on Facebook.
“Firefly is proud to be the newest member of the Florida Space Coast family!”
DeSantis said the deal is good for the economy and space exploration.
“With our focus on apprenticeships and skills education, we want kids in high school and state colleges locally to have apprenticeships at places like Firefly and Blue Origin and all these places, and we’re willing to put up money for that,” said DeSantis.
“I think that this will have long-term positive implications for us.”
Led by CEO Tom Markusic and a team of space industry veterans, Firefly is majority owned by Noosphere Ventures, the strategic venture arm of Noosphere Global, which has the resources to independently and fully fund Firefly through first launch.
Firefly is on track to deliver a U.S. solution for the 2,200 to 8,800-pound payload class to LEO by 2019 for a starting price of $15 million.
“Firefly is committed to doing its part to restore U.S. leadership in the small to medium launch market and is establishing international offices and strategic partnerships to effectively serve the global market,” said the company’s website.
Firefly will use Space Launch Complex 20 (SLC-20) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SLC-20 is located at the northern terminus of ICBM Road, between Space Launch Complex 19 and Space Launch Complex 34.
This facility was constructed in the late 1950s for the Titan I Missile Program, modified in 1964 for the Titan III Program, and further modified in the late 1980s for the Starbird launch vehicles associated with the shuttle Starlab mission.
Several Titan I rockets and four or five Titan III rockets were launched from SLC-20. SLC-20 was deactivated in 1996.
In 1999, the site was re-activated to support new launch facilities under the direction of Space Florida for commercial launches. The re-activation included upgrades to Launch Pad A and the construction of a new building along the perimeter road, northeast of the blockhouse.
The KSC Exploration Park is a partnership formed in 2011 between NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Space Florida. There are 299 Acres on KSC property, but outside the NASA badge controlled area.
The park is aimed at research and development, office, and light manufacturing commercial activities. The leased land and agreement with Space Florida is a part of NASA’s efforts to grow and deploy commercial space capabilities.
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