Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;   president@SEVolusiaAudubon.org


November 2012 Prez Sez


Last month I mentioned that state authorities sent letters to Washington trying to get NASA to relinquish 150 acres along State Road 3 to build a commercial spaceport.  On Sunday, Oct 28, Dinah Voyles-Pulver wrote an article for the Daytona News-Journal about the proposal.  I also mentioned we litigated that in 2008 and won.  Apparently it was also an issue in 1989. 

But the real question is why is Space Florida lobbying for the acreage so close to SR3 and near the scrub habitat which is under rehabilitation?  There is all sorts of space in the main part of the Space Center for them to use in a government/commercial partnership.  In addition, SpaceX now has a pretty and new launch complex on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station adjacent to the KSC.  It was from there that they launched the first commercial launch of a cargo resupply to the International Space Station in October.  Their Dragon spacecraft successfully returned to earth on Oct 28 splashing into the Pacific Ocean with a cargo which included the results of experiments being conducted in space by the ISS. 

So what is the problem with land within the core of KSC?  According to Frank DiBiello, president of Space Florida, the potential users of the spaceport want to be autonomous from KSC.  Apparently the security restrictions ore too tight and there is the requirement for security clearances.  So how is it that SpaceX negotiated these issues with the Air Force station?  Besides, since the loss of the shuttle program, security is looser for getting into the space center.  

But DiBiello is trying to convince NASA and local leaders that if the area abutting SR3 is not given up for the spaceport, the companies will go elsewhere and Florida will not get the jobs.  Even James Dinneen, Volusia County Manager was excited about the idea.

No one on that side appears to be worried that the people will lose access to recreational opportunities for significant periods of time during launch profiles or that habitat for endangered species will be lost. To make matters worse, there is no guarantee that anyone will actually decide to occupy the spaceport.  Yet, DiBiello says the spaceport could be built in about 2 years.

We will continue to oppose this plan.  There are better options for the spaceport on KSC property.  I will keep you informed.

Don