El Jefe

SpaceX: Kiss Florida's Place in the Space Race Good-bye! Spend $16 Million Making the Place a Theme Park.

SpaceX, the California company that plans to help NASA and perhaps become the world leader in space travel, announced yesterday in Washington that it would send a man to space by 2015.

The firm will send one of its own employees. Last year, it was the number one private firm to send an unmanned craft to the International Space Station -- and then bring it home. Its first flight will stay in space three days.

"What's important to me is that I can look myself in the mirror ... [and say] that the risk is acceptable for me to fly," said ex-NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman, who is managing the project for Space X.

Boeing plans a follow-up the next year.

The sad thing about all of this is that Florida, which because of the fortuitous location of Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center, has always played a starring role in aeronautic history, will almost certainly fade. SpaceX is in California.

The first rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral in 1950. Just about all of the Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttles took off from there, too.

These days, they prepare for Santa Claus at the JFK space center. Sure they have a space sciences garden and do interesting research, but the center's place in the pantheon of space travel is dying the death of 1,000 cuts.

What's our answer to this sad state of affairs? Like everything else in Central Florida. we will make it into a theme park. The guys who run Kennedy Space Center recently opened up off-limits parts of the park for the first time in decades. And they unveiled a $16 million, 10-year plan to turn the place into Disneyland for space.


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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse