Economic Yearbook 2007
SPACE COAST: Preparing for Change
A shift from the Shuttle.
-- Lynda Weatherman, Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast
Melbourne / Palm Bay / Titusville
ADJUST MENTS: The retirement of the space shuttle in 2010 and the transition to the new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) is the overriding issue across Brevard County. Marcia Gaedcke, president of the Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce, says that reports show that the area could lose as many as 5,000 jobs. She adds, "We're looking at the workforce at the Kennedy Space Center, the skill set that exists and what skills are needed for the new program." To reduce any adverse effects, the Economic Development Commission of the Space Coast worked with both CEV competitors, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman/Boeing, and obtained a commitment from the contract winner, Lockheed Martin, to do final assembly and checkout operations locally for the first time.
? Five-year-old Melbourne-based WiDeFi is a home-grown semiconductor company that is using its chips and software to expand the range of wireless systems. The company has received several rounds of venture financing and was a recent presenter at the Florida Venture Forum's Venture Capital Conference.
? The Merritt Island office of the Reynolds, Smith and Hills design and engineering firm is working on two projects as part of a multiyear contract to design facilities for NASA's Space Exploration Initiative. First up will be a new lightning tower system to protect the launch pad, crews and space vehicle; second will be a new mobile launcher and umbilical tower.
? AuthenTec is a world leader in fingerprint sensor security, used to restrict access to computers, buildings and private information. Launched in 1998 as a spinoff from Harris Corp., the Melbourne company was named High Growth Company of the Year in 2006 by ITFlorida.
? ASRC Aerospace at the Kennedy Space Center is designing ground support equipment and developing new technologies for the Space Exploration Initiative. The company received Florida's first annual Florida Space Business Award in 2006.