Space Florida on the right trajectory, but quickly approaching “max q”

In aerospace terminology, one of the most dangerous parts of a space launch is when a rocket approaches maximum dynamic pressure, or “max q,” that singular moment in time when the rocket’s speed and the density of the lower atmosphere combine to exert maximum aerodynamic stress on the airframe of the rocket. Passing that milestone as a rocket ascends into space doesn’t mean the rocket is home free, but it does mean it survived one of the more grueling tests on its journey.

While Space Florida, the state’s leading aerospace development authority, isn’t technically a rocket ship, it is most definitely in the rocket ship business, and it also finds itself on a rocket-like parabolic arc in terms of deal making. With an operations budget of over $14.5 million and an organizational chart that looks almost as complex as a circuit diagram for a component aboard Apollo 11, Space Florida is rapidly approaching a point of maximum dynamic pressure on the organization.

That’s because the speed at which Florida’s commercial aerospace industry is growing, along with the blockbuster size of some of the financial deals that Space Florida has helped broker, are combining to put Space Florida front and center in terms of Florida’s economy, while at the same time subjecting it to increased scrutiny as Florida government officials begin to expect some of those deals to pay off for Florida taxpayers.

Space Florida’s mission is unique. It is charged with maximizing the economic benefits of Florida’s broad range of space facilities and workforce expertise (i.e. rocket scientists) and helping the state remain the unquestioned leader in the aerospace industry. One of the agency’s most important jobs is to “attract and expand” the next generation of businesses in the space industry.


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