Florida Governor Rick Scott, along with the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast (EDC), announced on May 20 that aerospace-related propellant services provider United Paradyne Corp. is expanding to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) as it seeks to broaden its capabilities with government and commercial launch providers and expand its research and development operations.
Scott said, "This is a great win for Florida's Space Coast. Last week we learned that in just one month Florida's unemployment rate dropped from 7.5 to 7.2 percent and that we've created more than 330,000 private sector jobs in a little over two years, which is an incredible success. These 50 new aerospace jobs mean that 50 more families will be able to pursue their dreams right here in the Sunshine State."
UPC's return to the space center, where the California-based company served as a propellant subcontractor from 1998 to 2008, will create at least 50 jobs over the next four years with average annual salaries of $64,000. The company's capital investment over that time will exceed $9 million.
"We're obviously very pleased and excited about the opportunity to once again bring our operational and technical services to KSC, our nation's premier launch facility," said UPC president and CEO Joseph Hasay. "I would personally like to thank NASA, the State of Florida, Brevard County, and the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast for all the assistance they have provided in order to make this happen."
The privately-held company will lease the Hypergol Manufacturing Facility at KSC, a building once slated for demolition that the EDC, working with the Kennedy Space Center Planning & Development team, helped preserve. The building will be retrofitted to satisfy both legacy and new-use needs.
The return of UPC and its new KSC base reflects how the valuable assets of the space center are being made available to commercial operations, thus laying the foundation for future growth while keeping the center a viable and attractive part of the evolving Space Coast economy.
Enterprise Florida Inc., the state's lead economic development organization, also was among the partnering organizations that helped facilitate UPC's return to Florida.
"UPC's choice of Florida is a statement about our pro-business climate as well as our competitiveness," said Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who serves as Enterprise Florida's president & CEO. "We offer the workforce and partnerships on the government, corporate and community levels that help businesses succeed in our state."
"Kennedy continues to work with the commercial community to find innovative ways to use and preserve our unique capabilities," said Kennedy director Bob Cabana. "With the support of premier organizations such as the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast, Kennedy Space Center is well on its way to becoming a world-class multi-user launch complex, we look forward to our partnership with United Paradyne and its contributions to America's space program."
UPC's presence at Kennedy Space Center will help it achieve greater access to commercial launch companies and, with its plans to build a fuel manufacturing plant, allow it to offer aerospace fuels at significantly lower prices. It is expected to also help spur additional commercial endeavors at KSC.
"There is no doubt that Kennedy Space Center, even after the shuttle stopped flying, remains an amazing asset for our economy," said EDC president and CEO Lynda Weatherman. "It is an iconic facility known around the world, and with this powerful coalition of the EDC, the Center Planning & Development team, Enterprise Florida and others, we are working to ensure it will continue to meet the needs of commercial companies who are rightfully excited about locating there."
Well before the shuttle ceased operations in July 2011, discussions were under way about the importance of building a varied aerospace economy on the Space Coast and of how best to ensure KSC remains a part of that process. UPC's arrival is a major step forward in both of those efforts.
"We are pleased to see UPC select Florida for its infrastructure, workforce and business climate," said Space Florida president Frank DiBello. "We look forward to partnering with them in supporting their initial operations and move into the KSC community."