The Space Coast has experienced over 50 launches this year, indicating a potential record-breaking year. The Dean of the College of Engineering at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Jim Gregory, sheds light on how the space industry affects the local economy in Central Florida.
According to Gregory, the space industry has a substantial impact on job creation. Florida alone has over 150,000 jobs related to the space industry. These jobs range from preparing launch vehicles to developing technologies for spacecraft, including guidance systems, navigation systems, and rocket propulsion. The state takes pride in fostering a vibrant ecosystem that supports the space industry.
When discussing the impact of the Kennedy Space Center on the job market in the region, Gregory acknowledges its significance but highlights the presence of other influential employers. While the Kennedy Space Center is renowned and has a long history dating back to the 1960s, Florida is attracting a growing number of companies. In addition to aerospace giants like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and United Launch Alliances, there are new startups emerging in the industry. Familiar names like SpaceX and Blue Origin have gained prominence and receive support from influential figures such as Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon.com, and Elon Musk.
Gregory emphasizes that the space industry isn’t limited to well-known companies. Many smaller companies, including Sierra Space, contribute to the overall ecosystem. These companies provide high-paying jobs, benefiting the local economy as employees invest in the community.
For individuals who are not directly involved in the space industry, Gregory explains why they should still care about the space economy. The advancements made in the industry are likely to have a significant impact on daily life. SpaceX’s Starlink satellites, for example, are driving numerous launches and providing internet connectivity across various locations.
The ongoing growth of the space industry in Central Florida leads to economic prosperity, job creation, and an improved quality of life for communities in the region.