Former NASA astronaut Bob Crippen will land in Fla. Capitol for Space Day

Former NASA astronaut Bob Crippen will be in the state Capitol for Florida Space Day March 12 to talk with legislators about space industry opportunities.

Bob-CrippenCrippen, pilot of the first orbital test flight of the Shuttle program and former NASA Kennedy Space Center Director, will be on hand throughout the day, according to a statement from Florida Space Day.

Representatives from Florida’s aerospace industry will feature space-related exhibits during their visit to Tallahassee, highlighting what it can do for Florida and the nation’s space program.

“Home to more than 500 aerospace companies employing over 30,000 professionals, Florida must continue to retain, grow and diversify the business of space,” Patty Stratton, chair of Florida Space Day 2014, said in the statement.

Florida has the third largest space industry in the nation and at $9 billion, it continues to expand. Industry leaders will meet with House and Senate members and the governor to discuss the best strategies for the industry moving forward.

“Aerospace means business and that translates into high tech, high paying jobs for Florida,” Stratton said. “We want Florida to continue its aggressive stance to create a robust atmosphere for space exploration and business.”

Florida is one of only three states conducting commercial orbital launches and has two of eight commercially-licensed spaceports in the country, the statement said.

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