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A rendering of satellite broadband coverage that could be provided by OneWeb's proposed network of hundreds of satellites. (OneWeb) - OneWeb Satellites to be produced in Brevard County at Kennedy Space Centers Exploration Park.

A rendering of satellite broadband coverage that could be provided by OneWeb’s proposed network of hundreds of satellites. (OneWeb) – OneWeb Satellites to be produced in Brevard County at Kennedy Space Centers Exploration Park.

It’s been more than a decade since a handful of ambitious entrepreneurs saw their plans to provide global telecommunications service through massive satellite constellations blow up, doomed by runaway costs.

Now, a new generation of satellite entrepreneurs is headed back to the launch pad. Backed by billions of dollars from deep-pocketed investors, they plan to blanket the earth in the next few years with perhaps thousands of miniature satellites beaming cheap, ubiquitous broadband service.

What’s different? Launching one of these smaller satellites can cost a fraction of the price for a larger, school-bus-sized satellite. These new satellites will largely be mass-produced.  And consumers now demand high-speed Internet connectivity pretty much everywhere, on airplanes, cruise ships and in the remotest village in Africa.

Companies such as SpaceX, OneWeb and Boeing have all recently proposed networks of satellites in low-Earth orbit to provide high-speed broadband access around the globe.

Even Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has aspirations to bring Internet to poorly connected areas — a plan that was derailed in September after a satellite set to beam high-speed service to areas including sub-Saharan Africa was destroyed in the explosion of a SpaceX rocket on a Florida launch pad.

If this latest wave of satellite networks gets off the ground, it could pose a challenge to a $224.6-billion industry currently dominated by telecom and cable companies with their miles of fiber optic and copper wires.

“That’s going to shake up how these operators are controlling different regions, and it’s going to allow the consumer a little more of an option,” said Taylor Palmer, industry analyst at market research firm IBISWorld.

On Dec. 19, the Arlington, Va.-based OneWeb said it secured $1.2 billion of funded capital in a round led by Japanese technology giant SoftBank Group Corp., which contributed $1 billion of the total.

The money will fund construction of a Florida satellite manufacturing plant, which is set to start production in 2018.

SoftBank is just one addition to OneWeb’s list of big-name investors, which includes Qualcomm Inc., Airbus Group, the Coca-Cola Co. and Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

“One of the main challenges is raising financing from investors, so this proves they are able to continue doing that and they’re still attracting money from these big, established companies,” said Bill Ostrove, aerospace and defense analyst at market research firm Forecast International. “That’s going to be really vital.”

Satellite-provided broadband service is still tiny. It generated revenues of $1.9 billion last year, according to a June report from the Tauri Group that was commissioned by the Satellite Industry Assn. trade group. That compares with $97.8 billion for satellite television.

But interest in satellite broadband is growing as consumers expect high-speed service in places that aren’t always well-served by fiber or cable.

Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines said it planned to equip its entire fleet of more than 700 planes with WiFi.

“There’s a competitive advantage for those that have that service available,” said Tom Stroup, president of the Satellite Industry Assn. “Broadband has essentially become an expected fact of life.”

Analysts say satellite constellations could have the biggest effect in remote areas.

In 2014, almost half of the world’s population lived in rural regions, which are largely unconnected to the Internet, according to a report from ITU, a special agency of the United Nations that handles information and communication technologies.

“Internet access is fundamental for understanding of culture, cultural differences, civic understanding and participation,” said Greg Wyler, founder and executive chairman of OneWeb. “It helps make the unconnected economically relevant to the developed world. When they’re economically relevant, we pay a lot more attention to them.”

The company has an ambitious timeline. It plans to launch the first 10 satellites into low-Earth orbit in early 2018 to test their capabilities. More launches will follow, with its broadband access beginning as early as 2019.

By 2022, OneWeb says it will connect every unconnected school to the Internet. Eventually, OneWeb plans a 700-satellite constellation.

OneWeb’s satellite manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, Fla. is key to these plans. The company will mass produce its micro-satellites with automated assembly capabilities similar to those used in aircraft production facilities, eventually making three a day.

OneWeb has said the satellites will weigh about 330 pounds.

Hawthorne-based SpaceX plans to eventually launch more than 4,000 satellites for its network. Each satellite would be about 13 feet long and 6 feet wide, with 19-foot-long solar arrays.

Last year, the company received a $1-billion infusion from Google Inc. and Fidelity Investments and opened an office in Redmond, Wash., near Seattle, to focus on developing the small satellites. SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk has said the whole constellation could cost $10 billion to $15 billion.

After launching an initial 800 satellites, SpaceX said it could provide broadband coverage to the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. By its final deployment, the company said it “will pass over virtually all parts of the Earth’s surface.”

Boeing’s proposed 2,900-satellite constellation is intended to provide broadband access to both commercial and government users worldwide. The aerospace giant said it planned to launch more than 1,300 satellites within six years of the license approval.

The satellite swarms are made possible by advances in miniaturized parts and microprocessors. They could also help shrink the price gap between satellite and terrestrial broadband access, said Palmer of IBISWorld.

 In the past, satellite broadband was hampered by slower data transfer based on the long distance from Earth — a problem the companies hope to solve by putting their satellites in low-Earth orbit. They will also launch extra satellites to ensure coverage if a few break down.

“If they’re really able to optimize the production … and get it out at a cost-per-unit measurement that makes sense for a household … then it really could expand satellite broadband into a major competitor for some of these terrestrial companies,” Palmer said.

But first the satellite systems must get approval from the FCC to use specific airwaves. And mobile broadband providers have fought back when proposals for certain frequencies have overlapped with their own plans.

The satellite ventures may be able to lean on their powerful investors. Several of OneWeb’s backers have ties to the wireless industry, including SoftBank, which has a controlling stake in Sprint Corp., and Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, a business group that includes leading Indian telecommunications company Bharti Airtel Ltd.

Wyler insists OneWeb will be a partner with the Earth-bound networks, serving as an extension of current networks. OneWeb’s business model is to sell the broadband connectivity and capacity on its satellites to telecommunications operators.

“We’re not competing at all,” Wyler said. “These are areas [where] the current broadband infrastructure are not designed to provide services.”

In some cases, he said cellular operators might be able to put a tower in a rural area, but the location is too remote to lay cables or fiber to provide Internet service. That’s where OneWeb could step in and beam service to the tower, Wyler said.

Ultimately, an expanding market for broadband probably can accommodate both technologies, said Ostrove of Forecast International.

“I think it’s just going to be another way … for the end user to get that service,” he said.

Article by Samantha Masunaga, LATimes, Complete Article [ HERE ]

OneWeb aims to launch a fleet of 900 satellites that will circle the earth, providing steady Internet access that allows people in remote areas to log on.

OneWeb aims to launch a fleet of 900 satellites that will circle the earth, providing steady Internet access that allows people in remote areas to log on.

Satellite impresario Greg Wyler touts ambitious goals for his Space Coast startup, goals that go beyond the hiring plans that have been publicly praised by President-elect Donald Trump.

OneWeb aims to accomplish nothing less grandiose than bringing high-speed Internet access to the vast swaths of the earth that are untouched by fiber optic cables and unreached by cellphone towers.

“It’s going to be Floridians building the system that bridges the digital divide on a global basis,” Wyler, a 47-year-old Stuart resident, said in an interview this week.

Wyler’s pronouncement might sound far-fetched, but he has more than a billion reasons to be optimistic. The company has raised $1.7 billion from investors.

OneWeb’s main backer is Japanese tech giant SoftBank, but the list of investors also includes Qualcomm, Coca-Cola Co. and the Virgin Group. OneWeb’s board includes Qualcomm Executive Chairman Paul Jacobs and billionaire Richard Branson.

During remarks to reporters Wednesday in Palm Beach, Trump mentioned the startup’s hiring plans as evidence that he’s jump-starting American job growth even before taking office.

“OneWeb, a new company, is going to be hiring 3,000 people, so that’s very exciting,” Trump said at the Mar-a-Lago Club.

OneWeb itself expects peak employment of 1,200 employees, many of them at its new factory in Merritt Island. Add in employment from suppliers of solar panels and other equipment, and total employment related to the satellite system could reach 3,000, Wyler said.

Wyler, a registered Democrat who has made campaign contributions to Republican candidates, said he appreciated Trump’s attention, and he praised Trump’s business-friendly proposals. Even so, OneWeb committed to build an $85 million factory in Brevard County in 2015, well before Trump’s surprise victory in the Nov. 8 election.

In an interview on CNBC on Thursday, Wyler said the “invigoration and excitement” created by Trump’s win emboldened SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son to place an even bigger bet on OneWeb.

“What was kind of interesting was we had been in discussions with Softbank, and then after he [Son] met with President-elect Trump, he came back and increased his investment in OneWeb,” Wyler said.

Wyler’s pitch for OneWeb focuses more on altruism than profits. He says billions of people in the developing world have no Internet access – nor do millions of people in rural America.

In a world where schooling, banking and economic opportunity increasingly exist online, people on the wrong side of the digital divide risk being left behind.

“The Internet affects every single one of us every single day,” Wyler said in an interview with the Palm Beach Post. “It is so intertwined and so pervasive that we don’t even notice it. It’s really become defining of your ability to be a have or a have-not.”

His solution? Launch a fleet of 900 satellites that will circle the earth, providing steady Internet access that allows people in remote areas to log on.

In addition to connecting poor people to the Internet, OneWeb also plans to sell broadband capacity to cell phone companies and others. And the service could be used to connect a new generation of high-tech cars to the Internet.

While OneWeb’s new factory in Brevard County remains under construction, Wyler has an ambitious timetable. He said OneWeb’s first launch of 10 satellites should come in early 2018, and he expects his satellite-based Internet service to launch in 2019.

Dan Colussy, a Jupiter businessman who’s the former head of satellite phone provider Iridium, sees a clear need for space-based Internet service. He said Wyler seems to have cleared the first hurdle, namely raising enough money to build satellites, which typically cost millions of dollars apiece, and to launch them into space, which costs millions more.

“It’s obviously highly technical, but that technology is well-understood and well-known,” Colussy said. “It’s a delicate process, but with trained people and a properly developed facility, it’s pretty simple.”

OneWeb isn’t alone in its plans to launch satellite networks.

“Whether all these systems are going to be built is a big question mark,” Collussy said.

Wyler predicts success for his company, but he acknowledged that there are no sure things in the satellite industry, which has seen no shortage of high-profile bankruptcies.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “the path is littered with failures.”

 Article by Jeff Ostrowski  Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, Complete Article [ HERE ]

Frank DiBello is our Floridian of the Year. As president and CEO of Space Florida, this 70-plus-yearold gentleman has rebuilt Florida’s commercial space infrastructure since the dismantling of the shuttle program.

I’ve known Frank since he accepted the position in 2009 after a superb career as a consultant at KPMG and a stint with a local EDC.

In a bit more than half a dozen years, DiBello has lowered Florida’s dependence on big federal programs and instead has brought a host of private companies to the Melbourne area, including some focused on exploration.

The ace up his sleeve has been Space Florida’s ability to finance the growth of many of these commercial entities. He has been instrumental (along with many others) in expansions at Embraer, Northrop Grumman, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin and numerous others.

This combination of a state agency, a thoughtful board, private financing and state incentives is key to Florida’s success. And, of course, strong leadership! We are happy to honor Frank DiBello.

Article by — Andy Corty, Publisher Florida Trend, []

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and one of the richest men in the world, joined Gov. Rick Scott in 2015 last year to talk about Blue Origin’s plans on the Space Coast.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and one of the richest men in the world, joined Gov. Rick Scott in 2015 last year to talk about Blue Origin’s plans on the Space Coast.


Here are a few of my favorite economic stories, and business-related events, this year – in no particular order.

• March – Bezos offers glimpse inside rocket factory: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and one of the globe’s wealthiest individuals, let FLORIDA TODAY and a few other journalists tour his Blue Origin facility near Seattle and talk about his next-generation rocket development for space travel.

Bezos plans to pour a lot of money into North Brevard in the future, and the competition between Blue Origin and Elon Musk at SpaceX could fuel a private-sector space race that will only benefit the Space Coast.

(And Bezos, by the way, is serious about moving manufacturing jobs to space some day. Of course, it may depend on what kind of economic incentives Neptune is offering for job creation.)

March – Brevard County companies in competition for engineers: Melbourne-based Liberty IT Solutions said it was looking at hiring 200 software and systems engineers to support a contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

That’s good. What’s even better is that there is hot competition for engineers in Brevard these days with major companies, and smaller players, poaching one another and offering higher salaries and perks.

The lesson? Engineering is a pretty darn good field to get into.

( I don’t remember who said it, but it was someone local who quoted this to me earlier this year: “Know math, know money.”)

April – Embraer Delivers 1,000 Biz Jet, More Jobs: Melbourne-based Embraer Executive Jets delivered its 1,000th business jet to Dallas, Texas-based Flexjet LLC.

Maybe the bigger news for us is that the São José dos Campos, Brazil-based Embraer began assembly of the larger Legacy 450 and 500 jets here and also opened a new business unit, Aero Seating facility in Spaceport Commerce Park.

(On the downside what didn’t take off was Rodizio Grill, a Brazilian Steakhouse that closed earlier this year at Melbourne Square Mall.)

April – Where’s the cat litter box? Inside this attractive piece of furniture, of course: Peter and Denise Allen moved to Melbourne from Pennsylvania in hopes of starting a business to help prevent mold and bacteria growth. When that didn’t take off, they didn’t whine but immediately went to “Plan B.”

Plan B was Furever Pet Furniture – manufacturing high-end furniture (sealed with a few coats of polyurethane) that also hid its true purpose, a hideaway cat litter box.

Over the next few days, more orders followed and Furever Pet Furniture was born, with orders coming in from all over the United States and Canada.

“It blew us away,” Peter Allen said. “”We started with one product and now we do a variation of about 60. And still people ask for special requests.”

(Yes, cat houses are popular. I’m speaking of the ones manufactured by the Allens. Can’t speak for the other type.)

May – Northrop Grumman’s airport expansion OK’d: Related to the above item, Melbourne city officials gave the green light to Northrop Grumman Corp. to expand its campus at Orlando Melbourne International Airport, creating space for 1,900 new employees to help design and manufacture the Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber. The employment figure is about 400 higher than originally estimated.

(That is the kind of numbers miscalculation we should like around here.)

The whole thing hurt guys like James Brock of Palm Bay, aka “Brocko the Clown.” Clients canceled and he became uncomfortable driving to events in clown garb.

“This is our hobby and our passion,” said Brock, who wanted to quit his day job to perform as a clown.

“Boy, it’s a scary thought to do this full-time,” he said. “And then find out 40-50 percent of your business may cancel on you because of scary clowns,” Brock said.

(Did you know a good pair of clown shoes cost $300? “Pfft,” someone intimated to me when I told them that. “You see what shoes go for at Yves Saint Laurent at the Mall at Milenia? Now that’s funny.”)

November – Learning life lessons: Local leaders teach middle school students etiquette: Not sure why but this one meant a lot. Glen Outlaw, a local real estate developer, took it upon himself more than two years ago to start “Tied Together of the Space Coast” a program that teaches junior high students how to tie a tie and shake hands properly.

To date he, supporters and the organization have given out 4,000 ties.

Initially it was aimed at the junior high guys, but then a group of local professional women joined in to speak with the junior high girls about being assertive and setting and reaching goals.

Fantastic messages all around. And all because Outlaw wanted to do something meaningful for the community.

(And they’re good-looking ties the organization gives out. I’ve seen some neck wear where an accidental dip in tomato soup and splash of hot dog mustard would be a vast improvement.)

A couple year-end pieces of economic data:

Brevard’s unemployment rate (November) will end the year at 5.2 percent. In November 2015, the rate was 5.4 percent. But data released earlier in the month show growth in the Space Coast workforce, rising to 258,729 from the year’s prior figure of 255,758. Also the number of people employed in November, 245,223, was significantly higher than the previous year’s figure of 241,909.

Housing figures (November) came out just last week and show the median sales price of an existing single-family home in Brevard was $189,000, up 12 percent from the year-ago figure of $168,750.

(A little year-ending gift for home sellers.)

Merry Christmas.

Price is business editor at FLORIDA TODAY. He can be reached at 321-242-3658 or You can also follow him on Twitter @Fla2dayBiz.

Article by Florida Today’s WPrice, Complete Article [ HERE ]

Melbourne-based Harris Corporation's technology center in Palm Bay. (Paul Brinkmann / Orlando Sentinel)

Melbourne-based Harris Corporation’s technology center in Palm Bay. (Paul Brinkmann / Orlando Sentinel)

Harris Corp., Government Communications Systems Division, Melbourne, Florida, is being awarded a $10,797,930 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-15-C-0108) for the procurement of 50 Distributed Targeting System B-kits for F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft and 20 operational bulk data cartridges. Work will be performed in Melbourne, Florida, and is expected to be completed in October 2018. Fiscal 2016 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $10,797,930 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Atlas V EchoStar XIX An Atlas V rocket, carrying The EchoStar XIX satellite, is rolled from the Vertical Integration Facility or VIF to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex-41. Photo courtesy United Launch Alliance/Lockheed Martin

Atlas V EchoStar XIX
An Atlas V rocket, carrying The EchoStar XIX satellite, is rolled from the Vertical Integration Facility or VIF to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-41. Photo courtesy United Launch Alliance/Lockheed Martin

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION – United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V EchoStar 19 is set to launch this Sunday from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch window opens at 1:27 p.m. and closes at 3:27 p.m., and you can watch the launch live on Space Coast Daily TV.

The Atlas V rocket (designated AV-071) will be carrying the EchoStar 19/Jupiter 2 communications satellite.  The satellite will provide high-speed internet services for HughesNet throughout North America.

The rocket will fly in the 431 vehicle configuration with a four-meter fairing, three solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.

The Atlas V rocket was introduced by United Launch Alliance (ULA) in August 2002. The Atlas V was developed to provide launch services to the U.S. government and is a part of the Atlas program which in total has logged more than 600 launches to date.

Since their debut, Atlas V vehicles have achieved 100 percent mission success in launches from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Space Launch Complex-3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The rocket uses a standard common core booster (CCB), up to five strap-on solid rocket boosters (SRB), an upper-stage Centaur in either the Single-Engine Centaur (SEC) or the Dual-Engine Centaur (DEC) configuration, and one of several payload fairings (PLF).

The EchoStar 19 mission rocket will fly in 431 vehicle configuration with a four-meter fairing, three solid rocket boosters and a single RL-10C engine for the Centaur upper stage.

Article by Space Coast Daily, Complete Article [ HERE ]

NASA’s CYGNSS mission will begin with a launch into orbit aboard an Orbital ATK Pegasus. So instead of lifting straight into space from the ground, the rocket will be flown underneath an airliner to about 39,000 feet and released. After ignition, the Pegasus will soar away from the carrier aircraft, point its nose to the sky and burn through three stages to place the CYGNSS constellation of eight small satellites into orbit. Watch the launch live via Space Coast Daily TV’s Facebook Live stream beginning at 7 a.m., with launch set at 8:26 a.m.

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission launched Thursday at 8:26 a.m. from Cape Canaveral, Florida on an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket.

Orbital ATK’s Pegasus rocket gets its payloads into space just like a conventional rocket, but instead of lifting off from the ground, the Pegasus starts its trip already in the air.

That’s because a modified L-1011 airliner carries the Pegasus and its payload – CYGNSS in this case – to about 39,000 feet. Pegasus begins its solo flight by being released from the belly of the airliner.

Five seconds of free-fall ends when the solid-fueled first stage ignites. With its main, delta-shaped wing providing lift and a rudder and elevators on the back steering, the Pegasus noses up quickly and heads into orbit, discarding its first stage after leaving the thick portion of the atmosphere.

The CYGNSS mission will use radio signals from the GPS satellites to measure the wind speed of hurricanes near the ground in the tropics, between 35 degrees north and 35 degrees south where most hurricanes are born.

“The mission will focus on surface winds,” said Christine Bonniksen, the CYGNSS program executive at NASA, during a press conference on Saturday at Kennedy Space Center.

“We can get information to better understand how those hurricanes grow.”

Article by Space Coast Daily, Complete Article [ HERE ]

Florida’s Space Coast saw solid increases in tourism and hospitality employment fostered by rising hotel and cruise ship occupancies but tempered slightly by a drop in gambling boat passengers in the past year.

A new “Space Coast Tourism Report” from the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast projects that 2016 will break the tourism records set in 2015 in Brevard County.

The cruise ship industry continues to boom out of Port Canaveral, according to the report. Just over 3 million passengers boarded the cruise ships in 2016, through the end of September. That’s an increase of 8 percent over the same period in 2015. However, single-day cruise passengers – primarily aboard gambling ships leaving Port Canaveral, are down just over 7 percent during that period, to about 233,000.

Hotel occupancy rates are up 5 percent overall and was averaging 60 percent through the first nine months of 2016. That’s in spite of the fact that room charges also are up, almost 9 percent on the year, to an average price of about $94 a night. Together, those two factors have driven up hotel operators’ revenue per room almost 25 percent in the period.

Leisure and hospitality employment climbed 2.5 percent during the year, and averaged about 25,800 jobs during the first nine months. Overall, however, Brevard’s unemployment rate of 5.2 percent is down just a half-point since September 2015.

Article blogpost by Scott Powers, Florida Politics – Complete Article [ HERE ]

Norwegian Cruise Line announced Wednesday that it will deploy one of the world’s 10 largest cruise ships, Norwegian Epic, to Port Canaveral for a third consecutive fall and winter season in late 2018 and early 2019.

The Epic will return to Port Canaveral in fall 2018, sailing alternating seven-day Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean cruises, along with some 10- and 11-day Western Caribbean cruises from November 2018 to January 2019.

Norwegian Epic has a capacity of 4,100, based on double-occupancy of its cabins.

“We are thrilled that Norwegian Cruise Line has chosen Port Canaveral as the winter home for the Norwegian Epic through April of 2019,” Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray said in a statement issued by the port. “Sailing from our newly upgraded Cruise Terminal 10, Norwegian Epic is a great addition to our home-ported fleet. We hope Norwegian Epic continues to sail from Port Canaveral for a very long time, so all of Central Florida and beyond can have an opportunity to enjoy this magnificent vessel.”

Brevad County Tourist Development Council Chairman Jim Ridenour said Norwegian’s decision is a sign that the cruise line and its passengers are pleased with Port Canaveral.

“It’s huge,” Ridenour said, noting the spinoff effect of increased cruise business at Port Canaveral on the rest of the local tourism industry. “It shows the value of the port, and it says a lot about our hospitality industry, and how they treat their customers.”

In commenting on its Norwegian Epic decision, Vanessa Picariello, senior director of public relations for Norwegian, said: “We are pleased to have Norwegian Epic, one of our newest and most awarded ships, return for another season at Port Canaveral.  She will cruise to some of our most-sough-after destinations, including our private island Great Stirrup Cay, and the Caribbean’s newest resort-style port of call, Harvest Caye, Belize.

“Our guests in the Greater Orlando area are excited to have the opportunity to cruise closer to home, while experiencing the freedom and flexibility that only a Norwegian cruise can offer,” Picariello added.

The news came as part of a Norwegian Cruise Line announcement of its summer 2018 and fall/winter 2018-19 deployments. The Epic will be sailing seven-day Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, Spain, and Civitavecchia, Italy, during the summer of 2018.

Contact Berman at 321-242-3649 or Follow him on Twitter @ByDaveBerman and on Facebook at 

Article by Dave Berman, Florida Today, Complete Article [ HERE ]



MELBOURNE, FLA. — T. Dwayne McCay led his first commencement ceremonies as president of Florida Institute of Technology as students from two dozen states and 42 countries received their diplomas during two ceremonies Saturday at the Charles and Ruth Clemente Center on the university’s Melbourne campus.

McCay, who was inaugurated as Florida Tech’s fifth president in July, welcomed Harris Corp. Chairman, President and CEO William Brown as commencement speaker at the undergraduate ceremony starting at 9:30 a.m. McCay offered the keynote address at the graduate ceremony, which starts at 2 p.m.

The undergraduate ceremony featured 291 students. A total of 529 students received master’s and doctoral degrees in the afternoon session.

Including 310 graduates from off-site programs, 536 graduates from the university’s online programs and several dual degree recipients, Florida Tech bestowed 1,585 degrees for fall 2016.

The graduates Saturday included hundreds who completed their degrees over the summer. Starting in 2017, Florida Tech will offer a summer commencement. The inaugural ceremony will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, July 29, at the Clemente Center.

Among the recipients Saturday were international graduates from countries large and small, including Brazil and China, Gambia and India, Kazakhstan and Qatar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Some parents and friends traveled thousands of miles to attend the ceremonies.

Students from the U.S. were also well represented, including more than 100 from Florida, as well as individual undergraduate students from Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, the Virgin Islands and Vermont.

For more information and details on the Web broadcast of both ceremonies, go to

Article by Florida Tech news room – Complete Article [ HERE ]