TALLAHASSEE – Florida’s aerospace agency pushed forward with negotiations Tuesday to bring 2,100 spacecraft manufacturing jobs to Brevard County over the next three years.
The Space Florida Board of Directors approved a staff request to complete negotiations with a company that is expected to invest more than $300 million in a new facility at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. The identity of the company has not been released, with the proposal dubbed “Project Griffin.”
Howard Haug, Space Florida executive vice president, treasurer and chief investment officer, said in a conference call with the board that the agency will pursue “conduit financing” for construction and equipment acquisitions. Staff members will also work on lease agreements between Space Florida and the Melbourne Airport Authority, along with the sublease agreements with the company for the property, Haug said.
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Haug added the project is subject to funding availability and approval of a final agreement that would go before the board.
The jobs being pursued are expected to have an average wage of $84,000 a year, plus benefits.
In September, satellite manufacturer Terran Orbital decided to base its new 660,000-square-foot headquarters at the Kennedy Space Center’s former Shuttle Landing Facility, now called the Launch and Landing Facility, which is operated by Space Florida. That project, which went through negotiations under the title Project Kraken, is also expected to produce 2,100 jobs by the end of 2025 that carry an average salary of $84,000.
Separately, the board on Tuesday directed staff to negotiate a pair of deals with the Florida Department of Transportation.
The first involves a lease agreement of up to 32.5 years for parking in Jacksonville, while the second, carrying a $3.2 million price tag, would make road improvements within Kennedy Space Center to accommodate large launch vehicles and spacecraft management.
Haug said the road work requires a private partner match, which is being provided through a “starship program infrastructure investment” at the center by SpaceX.
The parking arrangement is part of a deal before Space Florida with another undisclosed company --- negotiated under the title Project Poseidon --- to overhaul a facility in Jacksonville used to maintain ships in the U.S. Navy’s fleet that constitute seaborne missile-launch platforms.
“The U.S. Navy has become increasingly reliant on projects like Poseidon to maintain the vessels that serve as launch platforms in carrying out its mission of providing the military force needed to deter war and ensure the security of the United States and its citizens,” said a resolution declaring the public purpose served by Project Poseidon.