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The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, Enterprise Florida, City of Titusville, Space Florida, and Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority have announced that Rocket Crafters, a Utah-based corporation that holds licenses for advanced hybrid rocket and aerospace composite technologies as well as proprietary hybrid rocket design and analysis software, will relocate to Titusville, FL.
The company plans to develop and commercialize a new hybrid rocket propulsion technology and leverage an ultra-lightweight, advanced composite material to manufacture dual-propulsion suborbital space planes. Rocket Crafters is focused on spaceflight training and commercializing the enabling technologies required for the future suborbital new space opportunities for both commercial and military applications.
Rocket Crafters will invest $72 million to support operations at the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville. At full employment, the company’s total economic impact is estimated to be over $48 million.
“We are very pleased with the support, advice, and assistance provided by the state of Florida, the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast and the City of Titusville in meeting our requirements that will enable Rocket Crafters to locate our headquarters, research and development laboratories, and our manufacturing and assembly operations at Titusville’s Space Coast Regional Airport,” said Paul Larsen, CEO, Rocket Crafters, Inc. “We believe that the availability of skilled manpower and a community with a can-do heritage for going to space will be key in our creation of up to 1,300 full-time jobs, and to our business model for providing rocket propulsion and suborbital space craft to the emerging suborbital space transport market.”
The company was awarded a State of Florida Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund (QTI) and workforce incentives to offset the costs of location, production equipment, and infrastructure.
“Rocket Crafters’ decision to relocate to Florida confirms that our state’s business climate is well suited for corporate headquarters establishment,” said Gray Swoope, president & CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state’s lead economic development organization. “This announcement is great news for Florida, and we welcome Rocket Crafters to Brevard County’s business community.”
The EDC and its project partners worked closely with the company to demonstrate the competitive advantages of locating in Brevard County and developed a competitive proposal outlining the tax advantages and skilled labor pool. Rocket Crafters selected the Space Coast over sites in Utah, New Mexico, Texas and Colorado primarily due to its skilled labor pool and attractive tax climate.
“Rocket Crafters brings a unique opportunity to expand and diversify the Space Coast’s aerospace manufacturing base,” said Lynda Weatherman, president & CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. “The EDC successfully led the effort to attract this innovative company to Florida, competing with four other states. We look forward to Rocket Crafters’ growth and success on the Space Coast.”
The EDC and economic development partners Enterprise Florida, Space Florida, Brevard County Board of County Commissioners, Brevard Workforce, Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority, North Brevard Economic Development Zone, Space Coast Economic Development Commission, and the City of Titusville successfully collaborated to secure this project.
“By this action, the City of Titusville, Gateway to Nature and Space, is setting its sights on a new commercial gateway to space,” said Mayor James Tulley, City of Titusville. “Our destiny is clear and our future is bright.”
Rocket Crafters’ innovative technology illustrates the continued evolution and diversification of Brevard County’s aerospace industry footprint.
“Having small rocket engine manufacturers like Rocket Crafters here in Florida is an important component to the robustness of our state’s overall aerospace supply chain,” said Space Florida President Frank DiBello. “We look forward to working with these types of companies to support their future operations here, as they are an integral part of our overall strategy for growth of the aerospace industry in our state.”
Construction of the company’s new 400,000 sq. ft. facility at the Space Coast Regional Airport is anticipated to begin in the third quarter of 2014. The company plans to commence operations in its temporary facility in the fourth quarter of 2012.