CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Rockets have been launching payloads from the Space Coast for more than 60 years, but 2017 will welcome a new era in space manufacturing at Kennedy Space Center's Exploration Park
When finished, the aerospace company Blue Origin will use 750,000-square-feet of buildings to produce large rockets for the first time ever. That is expected to bring 330 new jobs.
Another company, OneWeb, wants to build hundreds of spacecraft to help provide Internet access to parts of the world where there is none.
"That's a risky venture that they are embarking on, but they just got a billion dollar investment last month," explained Dale Ketcham, chief of strategic alliances for Space Florida.
Ketcham says the arrival of both space companies will provide hundreds of commercial space jobs, that are slowly replacing the thousands of government contractor jobs lost over the years, whenever NASA ended a federal space programs.
"When Apollo collapsed, and I'm old enough to have been here and watched my father suffer through that, that was a devastating blow. The retirement of the shuttle, even though we had ten years to prepare for it, was crippling."
Space Florida is hoping these new commercial space companies will be building rockets and spacecraft in the next year or two.