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Swiss company RUAG setting up satellite shop on Space Coast

Swiss-owned RUAG Space announced Tuesday it will develop a factory in Titusville to provide component parts for satellites to be created by OneWeb Satellites, which announced its presence on Florida’s Space Coast last spring.

RUAG, owned by the Swiss government, is a globally-recognized leader in engineering and manufacturing of components for space vehicles. It is moving into a newly-opened Port Canaveral Logistics Center-Titusville warehouse complex developed by the Canaveral Port Authority just outside the Space Coast Regional Airport.

There it will build the satellite structures – essentially the chassis of the spacecrafts – to support OneWeb’s plans to build and launch 900 satellites into space from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Local authorities and those of Space Florida and the Economic Development Commission of the Space Coast hailed the commitment not as the coming of a big player, but rather as one of the necessary supply-line, medium-to-small companies needed for their plans to re-invent the Space Coast economy around private space operations independent of NASA and the federal government.

“This celebration today is what we hope will be one of many new aerospace companies that will locate here for supply chains and key manufacturers,” said Space Florida President Frank DiBello.

“I certainly believe this is the start of a new Titusville,” said that city’s new mayor Walt Johnson.

RUAG Space calls itself Europe’s leading supplier of space products, but it only recently has entered the United States. Two years ago it set up a two-person shop in Denver. It then developed a factory in Alabama. The Titusville factory came about as both a surprise opportunity and a dream location, according to Holger Wentscher, senior vice president of RUAG Space.

“Being here in Titusville, this is where everything started. This is the birthplace of human spaceflight,” Wentscher said. “This is the area you think about when you think about spaceflight in general. To be here. To be part of that, some of that inspiration… it’s really so amazing.”

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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