The Space Coast: History, Economy, Demographics, and NASA...
Looking for more information about Florida's Space Coast? You've come to the right place! Many of FABCO's members have spent years learning the ins and outs of the Space Coast's unique market. Let us fill you in and provide you with an overview of the area, from its history to current demographics.
Of course, we can't discuss the Space Coast's economy without mentioning the major impact of NASA and the aeronautics industry. In 2020, NASA employed 33,000 people in Florida and generated an almost $6 billion impact on the Space Coats's economy, making them a major player and driving force in the local market.
The History of the Space Coast
Cape Canaveral possesses the third-oldest European name of any place in the US. Due to the surrounding currents, a number of shipwrecked sailors found themselves on its shore in the early sixteenth century, with Spaniards dubbing it “Cabo Cañaveral”. These wrecks decreased after the construction of the classic black-and-white striped Cape Canaveral Lighthouse in 1848, which still attracts visitors today.
By the 1880’s, the cities of Melbourne, Titusville, Eau Gallie, Rockledge, and Cocoa were already in existence. However, the area didn't truly flourish until Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railroad reached these areas between 1886 and 1894, allowing them to begin development in earnest. While disasters such as occasional hurricanes and the Great Depression hindered progress, recovery has been slow but sure each time.
Another major event in the development of the Space Coast occurred in 1929, when the construction of the Cape’s deep-water port was approved. In 1950, the area celebrated a major milestone when the first rocket was launched from the Cape, beginning a long and prosperous relationship with the aeronautics industry.
Space Coast Economy
Due to the presence of Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral, the local area is popular with visitors, who gather in huge numbers to watch rockets launch in person. Nearly 1 million people were present to watch the final launch of the Atlantis space shuttle in 2011. Many sites have sprung up to fascinate these space afficionados during their visits, including the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, US Space Walk of Fame, and the Air Force Space and Missile Museum.However, there are also many earthly and aquatic attractions that bring tourists to Space Coast: with over 72 miles of coastline, the area is spectacularly diverse and truly offers something for every type of traveler.
Speaking of traveling, the Space Coast is also home to massive Port Canaveral. Cruises launching from Port Canaveral attracted almost 4.6 million visitors in 2019, and its ships carried over 6 million tons of cargo, with about 75% of the port’s business coming from cruise ships. Today, Port Canaveral is ranked as the world’s 2nd busiest cruise port in multi-day embarkations, with many future expansions planned and their sights set on securing the #1 spot in the coming years.
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