Launching Point

Air Force and state of Florida representatives held a ceremony Wednesday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to mark the transfer of space launch complex 36 to the state for commercial satellite launches. According to an Air Force release, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) and Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp (R) attended the event as did Lt. Gen. William Shelton, 14th Air Force commander, Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th Space Wing commander, and Steve Kohler, president of Space Florida, the state’s public-private aerospace development organization. Shelton said the Air Force supports the transfer, first announced in August, because it will make it easier for commercial providers to launch from the US. “This is a great partnership that is mutually beneficial to both the Air Force and the state,” he said. Crist said Florida has always been home to big ideas. “The entrepreneurial spirit is woven into the DNA of Florida’s economy. And thanks to the Air Force’s decision, the door is now open to innovation and space opportunities never seen before,” he said. Under the terms of the transfer, Space Florida will oversee operations at the complex under a license with the Air Force for an initial term of five years. SLC-36 opened in 1961; the Air Force shut it down in 2004. Use of the complex for commercial launches is still subject to completion of an environmental impact analysis.