Press Release

Spaceport customer service moves to Cape Canaveral

By SpaceRef Editor
February 6, 2002
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The Cape Canaveral Spaceport Advanced Planning and Customer Service Office, a joint office of NASA, the Air Force and the state of Florida, moved from Patrick to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Jan. 25.

The move consolidated the organization to make the Cape a complete one-stop shop for new launch and program customers’ needs.

“Customer Service was moved to the Cape because spaceport managers needed to be where both the launches and customers are,” said office director, Rick Blucker. “The move made the Cape a one-stop shop.”

The one-stop shop assigns a spaceport manager to every new launch or program customer. The manager supports the customer from the start of the launch or program to the finish in a “cradle-to-orbit” philosophy.

“This is a time of great satisfaction for all of us who have watched this office grow from a concept to a smooth-running operation,” said 45th Space Wing commander, Brig. Gen. Donald Pettit. “This is the first and only place any customer interested in operating, launching or submitting a proposal to the Cape Canaveral Spaceport needs to come.”

Spaceport managers smooth rough edges such as public safety issues, real estate agreements and environmental concerns, along with providing guidance through requirements and associated agencies that may not be familiar to some customers.

The new style of the spaceport office appealed to launch customers faced with having to navigate through several layers of payload processing and launch. The many layers of bureaucracy especially obstructed small new commercial companies, said Blucker.

“Moving the customer service office to the Cape gives us better access to people and facilities at the Cape and the Kennedy Space Center, and gets us more involved with the launch planning and preparations there,” said Frank Davies, chief of customer service. “The move will make us more responsive to our customers and better able to work their programs.”

According to Ed Gormel, the executive director of the Florida Space Authority, the one-stop shop function for program or launch customers is highly unique for the United States.

“There is nothing like this facility in the country,” said Gormel. “It is unique in that no other state has this kind of a relationship in place.”

The office is currently working with 11 new programs, including the Delta IV and Atlas V.

“A Cape office provides an information-hub or market-place, if you will,” said John Hudiburg, deputy director. “Ideas, requirements, commitments and funding are exchanged in this market-place to satisfy the growing demands and evolving needs of the space community.”

Air Force payload customer, Thom Davis, said he has found working with a one-stop shop and a spaceport manager to be helpful and convenient.

“A process that used to take 18 months, now takes less than nine,” said Davis. “Their attitude was not that it can’t be done, but rather, how do we make it happen.”

SpaceRef staff editor.