Reaching for STAR
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Reaching for STAR

Reaching for STAR

Florida’s Space Coast has always made history. Today, we continue to make history, but that’s not all. The Space Coast is now the place to manufacture spacecraft, rockets, satellites, and more. The transition from being the place for launch to the place for launch AND production really started over a decade ago with Lockheed Martin’s Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), which became Orion’s Artemis.  

The foundation for this win our community desperately needed began 17 years ago with the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast’s (EDC) Space Initiative, which lead the effort to sell Brevard County to aerospace companies worldwide as a prime location for business, and the ideal site for the development of the next generation of space exploration. 

To achieve results, the EDC developed and implemented a capture plan, which ultimately led to Feb. 22, 2006, when the EDC was joined by federal, state and industry leaders, to welcome the announcement by Lockheed Martin of plans to locate final assembly and checkout operations of CEV at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). 

At the time, John Karas, vice president of space exploration for Lockheed Martin, said, “Florida has the people and an existing workforce with the skills, experience, dedication and track record to meet the challenges and requirements of NASA’s human spaceflight program.” 

On Aug. 31, 2006, NASA announced Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to build the CEV. The Space Coast had beaten out Texas, Alabama, California, Colorado and others for this incredible project that included hundreds of jobs. Perhaps, more importantly, the community had found its post-shuttle path to success. 

Since that time, Lockheed Martin has proven an enduring commitment to the Space Coast, and their recognition of what the community brings to the table. In July of 2019, the company celebrated a significant milestone in Brevard County’s history as Lockheed Martin’s Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Headquarters officially marked its relocation to Titusville. It came with a commitment to invest nearly $40 million into the Titusville campus and the transition of 350 jobs from Sunnyvale, Calif. Then, earlier this year, on July 15, the company announced an expansion. What began at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout building has grown across the causeway to Titusville and the Spacecraft Test, Assembly and Resource (STAR) Center. The STAR Center features business and digital transformation innovations that will expand manufacturing, assembly and testing capacity for NASA’s Orion spacecraft program and ultimately, future space exploration.

These are but the latest chapters written by the Space Coast in the story of human space exploration, of which the best is yet to come. 

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