Cape Canaveral area set for major economic boost as America ramps up space program

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- In 2004, when then-President George W. Bush announced that NASA would end space exploration at the end of the decade, the region that for 50 years was a major hub for travel to outer space became anxious about its future.

Florida's Space Coast, as it has long been known, had already been battered by the longest recession in U.S. history. The decision to end government space travel meant 30,000 jobs were lost in Brevard County. The unemployment rate, which was about 3 percent in 2006, rose to 12 percent in 2010.

But as the community prepared for the end of an era with Atlantis’ final launch on July 8, 2011, a plan was already in the works to boost the area's economic future.

The community began courting private companies to capitalize on the dilapidated facilities that had once been the launching pads for the Apollo missions.

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