Florida has established itself as a world leader in the aerospace, aviation and defence sectors, according to Michael Cooney, director, International Trade & Development at Enterprise Florida.

Speaking at the Space-Comm Expo 2022, he said the state was able to accommodate a “phenomenal” number of launches per year supported by an ecosystem of 400 aerospace companies employing 106,000 people.

“For most people, when you say Florida, you think space. They’re synonymous in many respects,” Cooney said.

“Just to show the growth, not that long ago there were anywhere from three to four launches from the Kennedy Space Centre per year.

“Last year, there were 31, this year projected to be 50 to 60, and thanks to Space Florida, our sister organisation that does for space what we do for economic development, they have helped to put in an infrastructure that will accommodate 100 launches per year.”

Motive Learning

One of the companies exhibiting on the Florida stand at the expo was Motive Learning, which helps companies launch rockets safely.

Vice president Donald Roberts said being part of the Space-Comm event had been “fantastic”.

Fort Walton Machining

Also on the stand was Tim McDonald, director of operations at Fort Walton Machining, a leader in the manufacturing and assembly of custom-designed, precision-made parts.

He said: “We were very heavily in defence contract manufacturing for the US Department of Defence and when the pandemic hit, it really hindered the ability for them to give contracts, budgets were constricted. So space really helped keep the company moving throughout that whole timeframe.”

ETA Space

William Notardonato, founder and CEO of ETA Space, which provides advanced cryogenic technology for space exploration, explained: “We are funded by NASA to do two different projects: a propellant depot on the surface of the moon where we go and make our own propellant using the lunar water. We split it into hydrogen and oxygen and then we liquefy it and store it. And then we also are funded for an in space propellant depot.”

PREC Group

Elsewhere on the Florida pavilion, Sheldon Dean, business development manager for PREC Group, which offers fabrication, chemical pretreatment, precision cleaning, testing and painting services, said: “We specialise in high purity, precision clean. That’s our main goal. We also support ground support equipment.”

Precision Ceramics USA

Steve Swallow, CEO of Precision Ceramics USA, added: “We’ve actually got ceramics on three planets. Earth is the easy one but we have parts on Mars, and we’ve got parts going to Mercury as well.”
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