Space Coast is a small region on the eastern coast of Florida, within close range of Orlando and St. Augustine. It includes Titusville, Cape Canaveral, and Melbourne among its cities. Positioned along 72 miles (116 km) of Florida’s eastern coastline, the Space Coast is the perfect combination of high-tech industry, innovation, and natural wonder. As the hub of the publicly and privately-funded space exploration industry, rocket launches ornament scenery of crystal-blue waters and naturally surroundings with over 4,000 native animal species. The region, which is home to just over 568,000 people, boasts world-known economic drivers such as the Kennedy Space Center and Port Canaveral.
According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Brevard County, which includes the Space Coast, has an unemployment rate around 5%. The Space Coast remains an extremely innovative and competitive area, not only because it is the epicenter of aerospace manufacturing and development, but also because of the collaboration between private, non-profit and public companies to develop an increasingly competitive and sustainable workforce.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that recently Brevard County’s total STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) employment was ranked #1 in Florida by the Brookings Institute. The Space Coast is also home to a strong collection of K-12 public schools, ranking #1 in best school quality of all large public school districts in the U.S. (Brookings Institute). The Brevard Public Schools also partner with the NASA Kennedy Space Center to teach their students about the engineering design process, various manufacturing technologies and women in the field of engineering. This prestigious public school system works to foster educational development and innovation at a young age, providing an opportunity for strong, future workforce advancement in this prosperous region.
The Space Coast is the perfect combination of high-tech industry, innovation, and natural wonders
As a whole, this area of Florida is home to the most ground-breaking and exciting innovations in U.S. space technology and manufacturing, making it an idyllic place to invest. Since October 2010, the county has seen a tremendous growth in this sector with 22 aerospace project announcements creating 6,244 jobs. This represents over $2 billion in capital investment. Industry top names such as the commercial human space flight company Blue Origin and Brazil-based Embraer join others such as Harris, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin in calling the Space Coast an integral part of their success in the aerospace and aviation sector.
The innovative spirit that launched the space-shuttle program is still thriving today with a robust support system for entrepreneurship in high-tech industry. The Space Coast is known throughout Florida as one of the best places to start or grow a business. This movement is supported locally by programs such as high-tech incubator Groundswell Startups, The Space Coast FabLab, weVenture, the Small Business Development Center, and CAMID, (the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design at FIT), supporting corporations of all sizes in finding cost-effective solutions to manufacturing and engineering design challenges.
Outdoor recreational life in Brevard is unlike any other. With nearly 365 days of sunshine, residents and visitors take advantage of year-long golfing, fishing, water sports, and more Several historic downtowns, including Cocoa Main Street and Historic Downtown Melbourne, hold monthly events among their restaurant- and retail-lined streets. There is no shortage of local attractions. The Brevard Zoo welcomes 400,000 annual guests, and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex transports visitors out of this world. Ron Jon Surf Shop, the world’s largest surf shop, is a hot spot for locals and tourists alike.
As the world’s only quinti-modal community, offering transportation infrastructure in air, land, rail, sea, and space, Brevard County is a top name in business sectors such as aerospace, aviation, defense, communications, and more. Port Canaveral, one of the world's most dynamic and exciting ports, is a world-class gateway for cruises, cargo, recreation, and logistics, as well as a gateway to new frontiers, including space. With less than one-hour transit time from sea buoy to dock, the Port’s channel is the most-accessible East Coast port in Florida. Annually, Port Canaveral hosts more than 4 million revenue cruise passengers through its state-of-the-art terminals and 5.5 million of tons of cargo, including bulk, break-bulk, project, and containerized. The Port is strategically located to service all Florida markets, as well as the Southeastern United States. Currently, the Port reaches a population of more than 58 million people in the Southeast United States, as well as markets in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. In addition to world class cruise facilities and diverse cargo operations, Port Canaveral offers more recreational opportunities than all other Florida deep-water seaports combined, including public parks, free public boat ramps, marinas, an entertainment district, and the seven-story interactive exhibit and event venue Exploration Tower.
Moving to rail and road, running through the area is Florida’s East Coast Railway (FECR) as well as major highways such as Interstate 95. Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) is the fastest growing hub for aviation and aerospace development, manufacturing and maintenance, and high-tech industries. It also transports a network of leisure travelers, business leaders, and more via several large airlines. Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX) is minutes away from high-tech firms such as Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company.
For the final frontier, the Space Coast is one of only three areas in the country that currently conduct commercial orbital launches. Together, Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are home to the most U.S. commercial launches.
Local high-learning institutes, educators, and leaders foster innovation and entrepreneurship for economic growth. Several state-run colleges call Brevard home. Eastern Florida State College offers bachelor and associate degrees in growing fields such as health care and business computer information technology, as well as certificate and trade programs, like welding. Also in the region is the University of Central Florida (UCF), the nation’s second largest university, offering more than 210 degree programs for bachelor and graduate degrees.
Florida Institute of Technology is a national, private, research-intensive university offering bachelor's, master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering, computing, science, aeronautics, business, psychology, education and communication. It is ranked a Tier 1 Best National University by U.S. News & World Report and has been named to The Wall Street Journal’s list of best U.S. Universities. Based in the city of Melbourne on Florida’s “Space Coast,” Florida Tech is located at the heart of the area’s commercial space, aerospace, cybersecurity, and high-tech manufacturing cluster, regularly contributing the research expertise of its faculty and the skilled professionalism of its graduates to organizations such as Harris Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Embraer, SpaceX and NASA - Kennedy Space Center. The university’s numerous research programs include The Harris Center for Information Assurance, Buzz Aldrin Space Institute, Aerospace Systems and Propulsion Laboratory, and Center for Corrosion and Biofouling Control. The ACE 8 Florida delegation will see first-hand Florida Tech’s world-class research and teaching programs in vital disciplines including computer security, aerospace systems, advanced manufacturing, and climate science. Learn more about Florida Tech at www.fit.edu.
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