Startups, Established Companies Part of Post Shuttle Era on Space Coast
A new rocket company is relocating to Titusville, with the potential to create hundreds of new jobs on the Space Coast. The startup is the latest in a series of aerospace firms setting up in Brevard County, which is working to regain jobs lost with the shutdown of the Space Shuttle program.
Rocket Crafters is working to develop a reusable, sub orbital space plane capable of flying passengers and cargo internationally.
Gregory Weiner, from the Space Coast Economic Development Commission, says the company plans to employ up to one thousand three hundred people by 2017.
“This is a very ambitious project, very well thought out, but it has lots of challenges," says Weiner.
"We are confident that the company is going to meet those challenges and it’s going to succeed.”
About 8,000 aerospace jobs in Brevard County were lost at the end of the Shuttle program last year.
But Weiner says over the last two and a half years 25 companies have either relocated or expanded in the area, creating more than three thousand jobs.
That includes big companies like Boeing, which aims to employ 550 workers on its crew capsule program at Kennedy Space Center by 2015.
“We’re 40 per cent, almost 50 per cent back," says Weiner.
"There is a lot more to do, but we’re doing well on bringing businesses here.”
Weiner concedes that work on the Shuttles is still winding down and final job loss figures are fluid.
In the post shuttle era some program workers have already left the Space Coast, but many have stuck around.
Titusville economic development director Laura Canady says aerospace companies are attracted by the skilled workforce.
“a lot of them chose to stay in North Brevard. They have homes and families here, and they know that this area does attract the kind of company that we just did.”
Another draw for Titusville is its regional airport, which is applying for FAA certification as a space port.
Canady says the city is currently working to recruit about a dozen new companies- half of which are aerospace related.