Technicians work on a communications antenna on the Solar Dynamics Observatory at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville. [Photo: NASA / Jack Pfaller]
Frank DiBello was named president of Space Florida in September after serving as interim chief of the organization, which leads development of the state's aerospace industry. He spoke with Florida Trend about Vision 2020, the organization's long-range plan.
Challenges: "Near term, clearly the challenge we're facing is a significant loss of jobs coming about as a result of a natural transition from an era of the shuttle to an era of a future space flight program.
We see a lot of opportunity in what will evolve through our civil space program. But we are just as excited with our partnerships with the Department of Defense and with commercial industry. The strategy for the state's space future lies in two areas: Diversification of the space industry and developing vertical integration of our supply chain. We've identified 10 market constellations or sectors we intend to develop. Three of these are our traditional core capabilities:
- The launch systems, where we will always be strong in spite of competition.
- The components that fly on top of those vehicles, whether you're talking about the International Space Station or satellites. That is a sector of the industry that's strong and can become stronger for Florida.
- Anything on the ground that allows us to exploit or use the equipment we put up there in space.
The other seven sectors relate to using space in some way to benefit mankind: Agriculture, climate and environmental monitoring; civil protection and emergency management; cyber-security and robotics; adventure tourism; clean energy applications; and new products."
The year ahead: "I want us to be both strategic and fast, agile on our feet and also open and inclusive and listening a lot. I want us to measure our performance and be held accountable."