U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space, today met with Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Director Bob Cabana to discuss the center’s current activities and recently released 20 year master plan. Rubio stressed the importance of expanding space exploration opportunities in Florida.
Following the meeting, Rubio issued the following statement:
“Since our space program began, Florida has been America’s spaceport, and we must continue playing a central role in 21st century space exploration. Of course, space exploration in this century must look significantly different than it did in the last one, with innovators in the commercial space industry carrying more of the load.
“I appreciated Director Cabana’s time today to discuss the center’s future. It’s important that NASA and the commercial space industry coexist in a way that benefits our nation’s space and science goals, as well as Florida’s long-standing role as a hub of space-related job creation.
“The main concern I raised with Director Cabana is how we can get commercial space companies to launch from Florida so they can utilize the infrastructure and workforce that make Florida a unique, and ideal, place to conduct launches. My hope is that NASA’s management plans for Kennedy do not put Florida at a competitive disadvantage, or deter or hamper commercial space entities from making full use of the facility and other potential launch sites in Florida. He assured me that would not be the case, but this is something I’ll continue exploring in consultations with the different stakeholders.
“The competition for commercial space industry activity is furious among states like Florida, Texas and Georgia. Florida has many decades of proven experience as a space launch hub, but we must keep working aggressively to keep it that way.”