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Major satellite manufacturing plant arrives at Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center will be the site of a massive satellite manufacturing plant that will cost $ 300 million to build and create 2,100 jobs with an average annual salary of $ 84,000 by the end of 2025, the company said on Monday. Governor Ron DeSantis.

Terran Orbital selected the launch and landing facility operated by Space Florida, the state development agency for aeronautics and spaceflight, for a 600,000 square foot plant to manufacture small satellites for commercial and national defense use, the governor said at a press conference at the site.

“This will be the largest satellite manufacturing plant in the world,” DeSantis said.

The state is investing $ 40 million in improving infrastructure at the site, formerly a landing zone for the space shuttle, including roads, electricity, retention basins and communications systems that will benefit to all companies operating there, said Dale Ketcham, vice president of the government. and external relations at Space Florida.

In addition, the state will help Terran organize the $ 300 million private financing, he said. “Debt is owed to the private sector, not to taxpayers. “

And the company could be eligible for additional help via a 50:50 match with the Florida Department of Transportation, Ketcham said in a telephone interview.

Last year 1,200 satellites were launched into space, triple the number in 2019, with projections that 50,000 satellites will have been launched by 2030, DeSantis said.

He pointed to other recent deals, including a May deal with Sierra Nevada Corp. to use the facility to unload his Dream Catcher space plane, which is designed to send supplies to the International Space Station; bringing the headquarters of CAE USA, which operates flight training facilities, to Tampa International Airport; and to bring the headquarters of Redwire Space, which manufactures components for spaceflight, to Jacksonville.

DeSantis also promoted vocational education prepare workers for jobs in the space industry.

Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, chair of the board of directors of Space Florida, estimated the total statewide investment in commercial space exploration at $ 1.5 billion.

In addition to rocket launches, the industry includes supply chain, manufacturing and logistics, Nuñez said, providing thousands of “high-quality, well-paying jobs.”

The facility will manufacture “cubesats,” or powerful miniaturized satellites, small enough to “fit in the palm of your hand,” Terran CEO Marc Bell said. The devices use radar to penetrate cloud cover, storms, smoke and even break through at night, to observe oil spills, forest fires and threats to national security.

The facility will handle all aspects of the construction of the satellite, including the fabrication of all components, he said.

“We will be able to produce over 1,000 satellites per year here and over a million satellite components per year, all in one location here,” Bell said.

The company chose the Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County on the Atlantic coast because of its historic ties to spaceflight and its status as a “growing hub for commercial space activities,” he said. declared, as well as logistical assistance and skilled labor from the state. .

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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.