Thursday, April 26, 2018
Editorials

SpaceX launches hope for fallow Florida coast

The successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket Tuesday from Cape Canaveral may not have been a giant leap for mankind. But for the economically struggling Florida Space Coast, the blastoff marks one small step toward a rebirth of the region's aerospace industry. The Falcon 9, built by SpaceX, which was founded by PayPal founder Elon Musk, marks a new era in America's space program. SpaceX and other private-sector aerospace companies are now stepping in to fill the void between the end of NASA's space shuttle program and its next frontier.

The end of the shuttle program cost Florida as many as 9,000 jobs. Many of those were in Brevard County, where 25 percent of all jobs were tied to the Cape Canaveral complex. Enterprise Florida initiatives and Space Florida, which has been charged with investing in infrastructure and support programs to lure aerospace corporations, has attracted a Boeing Co. capsule assembly project to the region. And it is estimated that the $1 billion Falcon 9 project created about 550 Space Coast jobs. That's a good start.

In theory, the Falcon 9 mission to deliver supplies and eventually crew members to the International Space Station orbiting 250 miles above Earth will free NASA to focus on longer-term, more ambitious missions to the moon, asteroids, Mars and beyond. While other corporations around the country such as Sierra Nevada Corp., Bigelow Aerospace and Orbital Sciences Corp. are also developing shuttle vehicles, Cape Canaveral remains the primary launch facility. If they built it, they generally have to come to Florida to fly it.

The dawn of America's space program more than 50 years ago affirmed a national desire to take risks, explore and become the worldwide leader in technological research. But time and dwindling resources have cooled that ambition, and NASA faces an overhaul and a cloudy future. The economic engine on the Space Coast may be fueled more by private investment than by public tax dollars.

The successful launch of the Falcon 9, the little rocket that could, once again reminds us the reach of the heavens remains well within our grasp. But for now, let's see if this private spaceship can successfully link up with the space station on Friday and make it safely back to Earth.

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‘Happy hour’ tax cuts may result in hangovers

Evidence is mounting that the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package enacted in December by congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump was a bad idea, not only for the long-run health of the economy but for the short-term political prospects of the ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

A St. Petersburg waste-to-energy plant now under construction has been billed for years as an environmentally friendly money saver. Now it looks more like a boondoggle, with the cost and mission changing on the fly. It’s yet another example of a city...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Writing a new law that phases out separate accreditation for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and folds it back into the major research university was the easy part. The hard work starts today when a new consolidation task force holds i...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Correction

CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18