Hours after NASA launched its Perseverance Rover from Cape Canaveral toward Mars, Gov. Ron DeSantis ceremonially signed a bill to financially empower Space Florida.
The measure, HB 717, will provide Space Florida with more flexibility to provide bonds and financing for commercial space and aerospace projections. Among other changes, the bill will also streamline certain bond proposal notification requirements and reduce the maturity date from Space Florida bonds from 40 years to 30 years.
“This new tool in the toolkit will greatly enhance the state’s ability to access private capital market, to finance new infrastructure for both commercial aerospace industry needs and the expansion of the state spaceport system for future growth,” DeSantis said.
Space Florida is a public-private organization that works to attract aerospace companies to Florida for business opportunities. DeSantis lauded the organization’s work and their relationship with companies such as Lockheed Martin, SpaceX and Boeing.
He described Florida as the “silicon valley” for commercial aerospace.
“This has been area here that we’ve seen tremendous growth in,” DeSantis said. “We’ve got some of the best companies in the world here. We have reinvigorated NASA and there’s a great mission with public and private working together to be able to expand our horizon into space.”
The signing came after NASA blasted off its Perseverance Rover on the back of a SpaceX’s Atlas V rocket early Thursday. It is part of a long-range project to Mars intended to bring back rock samples from the planet so they can be analyzed for signs of ancient life.
“This morning’s launch to advance the mission of robotic exploration of Mars really demonstrates talent, ingenuity and hard work,” DeSantis said. “It was inspiring to see and we know that as that goes in the coming months and makes its way to Mars, some of the information (is) going to be really really neat.”
NASA plans for the rover to return on Feb. 18, 2021.