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Three defense companies landed six military contracts totaling $4.1 billion, with most of the work taking place in Central Florida, which may mean more new jobs and subcontractor opportunities.

Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp. won three contracts totaling $4 billion. Falls Church, Va.-based Northrop Grumman won two contracts totaling $74.8 million. And, Melbourne-based DRS Systems Inc. won a $82.3 million contract, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. (See the photo gallery for a look at cool things built by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman in Orlando.)

Here’s a quick rundown of each contract in value order, a bit of background, and hiring opportunities for each company:

Lockheed Martin

  • The U.S. Navy awarded a $3.7 billion contract to Lockheed Martin on July 28 for the procurement of 50 F-35 jet fighters for non-U.S. customers. United Kingdom will receive one F-35B aircraft; one F-35A for Italy; eight for Australia; eight for the Netherlands; four for Turkey; six for Norway; and 22 for foreign military sales customers. Various parts of the work will take place overseas and throughout the U.S., including Orlando. The contract has a December 2020 completion date.
  • The global defense company won another U.S. Navy contract on July 28, valued at $218.7 million for work on the F-35 aircraft. The work is for recurring logistics support and sustainment services for F-35 Lightning II aircraft in support of the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-U.S. customers participants and foreign military sales customers. Nearly half of the work will take place in Orlando and Fort Worth, Texas, but will have smaller parts performed in three other parts of the U.S. The contract has a February 2018 completion date.
  • The company’s Missiles & Fire Control in Orlando won a $75.3 million contract on July 28 to work on its Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor kits and spares for the Apache Attack Helicopter. All work will be performed in Orlando and has a March 31, 2020 completion date.

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) often pulls in big contracts for its F-35. Earlier in July, the defense contractor won a $5.5 billion contract for the F-35, which brings in big work for its Orlando locations, which have more than 7,000 employees.

Lockheed Martin’s Missiles & Fire Control in west Orlando handles the development of the F-35’s electro-optical targeting system. Lockheed Martin’s rotary and mission systems division in east Orlando also helps with the F-35 program by creating training simulators on how to fly the fighter jet and repair it. The F-35 program supports more than 1,000 jobs in Orlando.

Northrop Grumman

  • The company’s Melbourne unit was awarded a $56.7 million contract with the Defense Logistics Agency on July 28. Work for the contract includes a five-year basic ordering agreement for aircraft quick engine change kits. Work will take place in Florida and has a March 30, 2022 completion date.
  • The company was also awarded an $18.1 million contract with the U.S. Navy on July 28 for full-rate production of six E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft.Nearly half of the work will be performed in Melbourne, along with work in 10 other U.S. locations. The contract has an August 2021 completion date.
  • Northrop Grumman’s (NYSE: NOC) E-2D and E-2C program received more than 164 contracts last year, totaling more than $480 million, but not all of that work was done in Melbourne. The program currently supports about 800 jobs in Melbourne.

DRS Systems

  • The Melbourne-based defense company was awarded was awarded an $82.3 million contract from the U.S. Army on July 27. Work includes foreign military sales and procurement of infrared thermal receiver units. The contract has a March 10, 2018 completion date.

All three of these defense firms are hiring dozens of workers in Central Florida. Lockheed Martin currently has more than 500 job opening according to its website. Northrop Grumman has more than 100 job openings for its Melbourne, Orlando and Apopka locations. And DRS Technologies has 40 openings for its Melbourne location.

Richardson covers technology and general assignments for online and print.

Article by Matthew Richardson, Orlando Business Journal, Complete Article [ HERE ]

LOS ANGELES — After a series of delays, SpaceX’s heavy-lift rocket is now set to lift off for the first time in November, Chief Executive Elon Musk said Thursday.

Musk announced the date for Falcon Heavy’s first flight in an Instagram post that showed a rendering of the 229.6-foot-tall rocket.

Falcon Heavy — set to be the most powerful rocket since the 1960s-era Saturn, capable of carrying about 140,000 pounds to low-Earth orbit — is key to SpaceX’s plans to take two tourists around the moon and to launch heavier national security or commercial satellites. It is the first of a new generation of giant rockets.

This is just the latest launch date for the massive rocket announced by the company. Earlier this year, SpaceX, based outside Los Angeles, said the rocket could launch for the first time this summer, then later said a first flight could happen sometime in September or October.

SpaceX has said it needs to get its launch pad at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station up and running before it launches the first demonstration flight. The company plans to move launches of the smaller Falcon 9 to the Cape Canaveral pad to continue working through its backlog of launch customers, while the Falcon Heavy will launch from the pad SpaceX is currently using at Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX’s pad at Cape Canaveral was damaged in a launch pad explosion last year, which also destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and commercial communications satellite perched atop it.

Musk has downplayed expectations for the first demonstration flight of Falcon Heavy. Last week, he told an audience at a space conference in Washington that there was a “good chance” the rocket will not make it to orbit altitude in its first go.

“I hope it makes it far enough away from the pad that it does not cause pad damage,” he said during the speech. “I would even consider that a win, to be honest.”

Musk has said the rocket’s center core proved more difficult to develop than originally anticipated. For the demonstration flight, Falcon Heavy’s two side boosters will be reused first-stages from previous missions. SpaceX will attempt to land all three boosters.

Article by Los Angeles Times

PORT ST. JOHN – A bellwether of the North Brevard County economy could be just off Interstate 95, along a mile stretch of Port St. John Parkway.

Plans are in the works to develop 40 acres of Port St. John Parkway with retail, hotels and quite possibly a high-tech business headquarters related to the resurging space industry that has been North Brevard’s bread and butter for years.

“This has generated a tremendous amount of activity in the area,” said Michael Dreyer, broker/owner of Dreyer & Associates Real Estate Group, who is working with the owners of the Port St. John Parkway to develop the property.

“And then there is the easy access to I-95, State Road 528 to Orlando and to the beaches,” Dreyer said. “You can get anywhere from there.”

Ultimately where he and the property owners is relaunching what was known at the “Towne Center at Port St. John,” a major commercial-retail development off I-95 between Titusville and Cocoa.

For a while, Parrish Medical Center stood as a testament to the parkway’s potential. More than a decade earlier plans for the parkway project was to feature restaurants and commercial development that would serve travelers along I-95, and also people doing business at the Kennedy Space Center or the Space Coast Regional Airport.

The recession and the end of the shuttle program that caused so much turmoil in the Space Coast economy changed all that and put many commercial development projects on hold.

Today, what’s planned for Port St. John Parkway, and other parts of North-Central Brevard, is an indication that developers and businesses are dusting off some of the earlier projects and giving them new life.

The father-son team of Mike and Summit Shah, who oversee Southeast Petro, are betting on the growth on the Port St. John Parkway, with plans to build a new convenience store with 16 fueling position and a fast-food entity.

The Shahs also are in a partnership group to build a new Beef O’Brady’s at the corner of Curtis and Fay boulevards in Port St. John.

“Being Brevard-based, we are always bullish on Brevard and have many investments in North Brevard already, this being a newer exit was natural fill in as Brevard continues to grow,” Summit Shah said. “Interstates have become more attractive to all types of retailers and we expect the same will occur over time here.”

The talk about a growing North Brevard is enthusiastic enough that CareerSource Brevard recently voted to expanding its Titusville office to its former site on Washington Avenue in Titusville. It had been at a smaller site on Washington Avenue.

CareerSource Brevard President Marci Murphy said the agency predicts 2,600 new jobs in the Titusville area over the next three years.

Currently, there are more than 2,100 businesses in Titusville, representing 25,457 employees and a residential population of more than 45,000.

“I am thrilled that the CareerSource Brevard board saw the need to reopen a full access CareerSource center again in Titusville,” said Robert L. Jordan, Jr., outgoing CareerSource Brevard chairman.

“It has been my vision that we take care of the citizens of North Brevard with an operation that will support not only the needs of potential employees, but the greater need of existing and future employers that are investing in North Brevard,” Jordan said.

A good part of the economic spark comes from what’s happening at the Kennedy Space Center.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has an aggressive launch schedule, and Blue Origin, the space company backed by billionaire Jeff Bezos of Amazon should complete by year’s end its manufacturing facility for its reusable, heavy-lift orbital rocket, New Glenn.

Blue Origin’s operation should mean the addition of anywhere from 325 to 400 high-tech manufacturing jobs.

Also coming on line soon will be OneWeb Satellites, a satellite manufacturer expected to employ at least 250 people.

It’s a sweet elixir for an area that at one time was being written off as a ghost-town-in-the-making, infamously alluded by CBS “60 Minutes” no less in a 2012 segment.

“That ’60 Minutes’ report didn’t affect us at all,” said Josh Norris, president of the Titusville-based Norris Automotive Group, which includes Buick, GMC, Ford and Honda.

In 2014, Norris opened new headquarters for its Buick/GMC and Honda dealerships along U.S. 1. And, last year, it completed a major renovation of the Ford dealership along Highway 50.

 “It’s easier to pessimistic than optimistic,” Norris said. “There are a lot of success stories in North Brevard.”

As for the future of Port St. John Parkway, the Parkway Animal Hospital did the initial toe-tapping of the market three years ago, opening just west of Parrish Medical Center.

Now Southeast Petro, run by Mike and Summit Shah, are planning a convenience store/fuel station and restaurant next to the animal hospital, and Dreyer is fielding calls several times a week asking about other development opportunities along the parkway.

“Usually, when you find development going in like that,” Dreyer said, “within six months you’ll other developers come in.”

Contact Price at 321-242-3658 or

Other development news impact North Brevard County:

• In Titusville, TownPlace Suites by Marriott is planned for west of I-95 at State Road 50. Another hotelier, yet to be identified, is planning on building at U.S. 1 and State Road 405 in Titusville.

• In Cocoa, work is near completion on the Flying J Travel Center and Wendy’s on State Road 524, just east of Interstate 95, in Cocoa.

• On Merritt Island, Ralph Perrone Sr. and Mike and Summit Shah, owners of the former Circuit City building on Merritt Island, recently sold the building for $2.2 million to Physician Partners of America, Florida Pain Relief Group, Florida Primary Care Group  and Patient RX Pharmacy, who are converting the 30,000-square-foot former retail space into a multi-specialty medical facility. It will include an outpatient ambulatory surgery center, medical clinics and pharmacy.

• Also on Merritt Island, Nelson Engineering Co., is expanding, with plans to double its operation at 5335 N. Courtenay Parkway into the former Grace Lutheran Church, which is next door. Renovations to the new headquarters church should be complete by October.

Article by Wayne T. Price, Florida Today, Complete Article [ HERE ]

The Herndon-based government IT services division that spun off from Harris Corp. (NYSE: HRS) has a new name.

The spinoff, which was acquired by New York-based private equity group Veritas Capital in a $690 million cash deal in April, will henceforth be known as Peraton. The name stems from “per,” which means thoroughly, and “imperative,” according to a press release.

CEO Stu Shea said that he wants the company to focus more on “emerging warfighter domains,” which means the company will look to focus its energies and investments primarily on the space, cyber and intelligence markets.

Shea also left the door open for Peraton to make acquisitions in the future, although nothing is imminent. “I have no ongoing, concrete plans for acquisitions, but I can tell you that we’re absolutely open to it,” he said.

Since the sale, the Peraton had been operating under the name MHVC Acquisition Corp.

The spinoff has been busy working to fill its high-ranking positions. Shea, former chief operating officer of Reston-based Leidos Holdings Inc., joined as CEO last month, and in June the company also added three new executives.

According to Melbourne, Florida-based Harris, its IT services division generated $1.17 billion in revenue in the fiscal year that ended in July 2016. Shea said the spinoff, which employs about 1,300 people in the D.C. area, expects about $1.1 billion in revenue this year.

The company serves NASA’s Space Communications Network and Deep Space Network programs. Peraton also has contracts with intelligence agencies, including the CIA, National Reconnaissance Office and National Security Agency, among others.

Article by Max Handler, staff reporter, Washington Business Journal, Complete Article [ HERE ]

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — A NASA aircraft darting over the edge of the Space Coast at supersonic speeds in August is expected to create window-rattling sonic booms for aeronautical research, according to the agency.

Teams from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California and Langley Research Center in Virginia are expected to converge on Kennedy Space Center to better understand how low-altitude atmospheric turbulence affects sonic booms.

Beginning August 21, a NASA-operated F/A-18 Hornet will take off from KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility and vault to an altitude of 32,000 feet just off the coast of Cape Canaveral before racing to Mach 1, the speed of sound, to produce sonic booms.

A TG-14 motorized glider equipped with dozens of microphones will deploy to a lower altitude, cut its engines to reduce ambient noise, and record the sonic booms for review by researchers.

“Our goal is to get data on 33 sonic booms,” said Matt Kamlet, a public affairs officer with the Armstrong Flight Research Center, also noting that testing should end on August 31 depending on weather conditions. That likely means two to three flights per day.

While sonic booms generate immense amounts of energy, residents in the north part of Brevard County need not worry – the shockwaves associated with breaking the sound barrier aren’t dangerous.

“We have carefully planned our flights so that there is little chance that people in larger communities such as Titusville to the west, or Cocoa Beach to the south, will be disturbed,” said Ed Haering, SonicBAT’s principal investigator, in a news release. “Residents might hear a distant sound similar to a rumble of thunder. If the actual winds at the time of our tests are much different from predicted, they might hear a boom sound like those heard when the space shuttle landed.”

“At the altitudes we are flying, sonic booms from aircraft have never been dangerous to people, animals or buildings, but they can be startling,” he said.

The experiment, named Sonic Booms in Atmospheric Turbulence, or SonicBAT, will collect data for researchers to understand and develop future quiet supersonic aircraft, “which will produce a soft thump in place of the louder sonic boom,” NASA said.

The first SonicBAT tests were conducted in dry climates, but the upcoming flights at KSC will collect data over the Space Coast’s more humid airspace.

“We know that humidity can make sonic booms louder, so we need to test some place wetter, and Kennedy fits that bill,” Haering said.

Sonic booms are aptly named – the sound energy generated by aircraft crossing the speed-of-sound threshold is much like an explosion. Space Coast residents who have been around for returning space shuttles, or more recently, landings of SpaceX Falcon 9 first stages at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, are familiar with the experience.

The Federal Aviation Administration currently prohibits supersonic flight over land, but the research could help change that if crossing the threshold becomes a quieter experience. If so, supersonic flight over the United States could someday make its way to the commercial sector.


Article from: Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.),

First Choice Strengthens Executive Team with New CFO; CFO Brings Expertise in M&A, Strategic Planning, and Revenue Cycle Management

MELBOURNE, Fla., July 27, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — First Choice Healthcare Solutions, Inc. (OTCQB:FCHS) (“FCHS,” “First Choice” or the “Company”), one of the nation’s only non-physician-owned, publicly traded healthcare services companies focused on the delivery of total musculoskeletal solutions with an emphasis on Orthopaedics and spine care, today announced that it has appointed Phillip J. Keller as its Chief Financial Officer, who assumed the position on July 24, 2017.

“As First Choice continues to mature into a nationally recognized name in the healthcare arena, we remain focused on taking the necessary steps to drive shareholder value for years to come. While we’re certainly encouraged by our early success, we have much work to do at both the operational level as well as in preparation to up-list our shares to a national exchange,” stated Chris Romandetti, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Choice. “Phillip Keller, with his extensive background in healthcare and proven ability to deliver results within a public company setting, is the ideal man for the job.  During our extensive interview process, which took First Choice on a national search for a CFO, Mr. Keller stood out as a CFO that had aspirations which aligned with ours and brought the skill set necessary to get the job done.  We are excited to have him onboard.”

From 2014 through 2015, Mr. Keller served as SVP of Finance and CFO of RehabCare Inc., a provider of physical, occupational and speech-language rehabilitation services to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and home care settings in 47 states across the U.S. Prior to joining RehabCare Inc. in 2014, Mr. Keller served as SVP of Finance of PharMerica, Inc. (NYSE:PMC), an institutional pharmacy servicing skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, hospitals and other long term alternative care facilities. Other previous executive posts have included SVP of Finance and Principal Accounting Officer of BioScrip, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIOS).

In hiring Mr. Keller, First Choice acquires expertise in corporate finance and accounting, SEC compliance, financial planning and analysis, Sarbanes Oxley and internal auditing, treasury management, debt restructuring, and revenue cycle management.

“I’m excited to have joined First Choice. While many might think that it was First Choice’s early growth that attracted me to the enterprise, it was actually the rare opportunity to be able to join a company that can potentially revolutionize the delivery of a complete orthopaedic and spine care platform within the industry,” said Phillip Keller, newly appointed CFO of First Choice.  “Over the next few months, I will work closely with management to identify our greatest opportunities for growth, to identify additional areas for unlocking the profit potential of the business, and to identify areas where we can maximize value for our shareholders.  I look forward to getting started.”

About First Choice Healthcare Solutions, Inc.

Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, First Choice Healthcare Solutions (FCHS) is implementing a defined growth strategy aimed at expanding its network of non-physician-owned medical centers of excellence, which concentrate on treating patients in the following specialties: Orthopaedics, Spine Surgery, Neurology, Interventional Pain Management and related diagnostic and ancillary services in key expansion markets throughout the Southeastern U.S. Serving Florida’sSpace Coast, the Company’s flagship integrated platform currently administers over 100,000 patient visits each year and is comprised of First Choice Medical Group, The B.A.C.K. Center and Crane Creek Surgery Center. For more information, please visit,, and

Article by Nasdaq, Complete Article [ Here ]

The Winn Dixie in Cocoa Beach, closed since 2016, opened Wednesday morning with a mass ribbon cutting, speeches, samples and mystery gift cards to the first 500 people in line. About 700 people showed up for the opening of the totally revamped store.

Article by Malcolm Denemark, Florida Today, Complete Article [ HERE ]

WASHINGTON — A NASA spending bill making its way through the Senate would provide Kennedy Space Center in Florida with $640 million to upgrade its infrastructure that are key to sending astronauts to Mars.

The money that was approved Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee as part of a $19.5 billion appropriation bill for NASA in 2018 would represent a $210 million increase in such funding from the current year.

That amount includes $545 million that Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson requested for Exploration Ground Systems and $95 million for related constructions.

Launch Complex 39B is seen during a recent aerial survey of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The survey was performed to identify structures and facilities that may have sustained damage from Hurricane Matthew as the storm passed to the east of Kennedy on Oct. 6 and 7, 2016. Officials determined that the center received some isolated roof damage, damaged support buildings, a few downed power lines, and limited water intrusion. Beach erosion also occurred, although the storm surge was less than expected. NASA closed the center ahead of the storm’s onset and only a small team of specialists known as the Rideout Team was on the center as the storm approached and passed. (Photo: NASA/Cory Huston)

The funding is needed to upgrade launch pad 39b and related facilities that will be used for the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule being built to send humans to Mars.

“Getting this additional money for the launch pad is a big win for KSC and the effort to land humans on Mars,” said Nelson who has been pushing for the money.

The $19.5 billion is about $124 million less than the amount Congress approved for NASA this year but $437 million more than President Trump requested in his budget proposal.

The bill, which now heads to the full Senate for consideration, would also provide:

— $2.15 billion for the Space Launch System (SLS), which is $212 million above the request. The funding would include $300 million for upper stage engine work for future crewed missions.

—$1.35 billion for the Orion crewed spacecraft that will sit atop the rocket.

—$5.6 billion for Earth and planetary science missions.

—$732 million to continue development of a program to resume launches of astronauts from U.S. soil to the International Space Station.

—$100 million for education programs that the administration is proposing to eliminate entirely.

Contact Ledyard King at; Twitter: @ledgeking

Article by Ledyard Kind, Florida Today, Complete Article [ HERE ]

For the second straight spring, the popular U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will headline the Melbourne Air & Space Show.

The event takes place March 17-18 at Orlando Melbourne International Airport.

“Of course, we’re super excited to have them back for 2018. This will be our fifth anniversary at the Melbourne airport, so it’s our fifth anniversary show,” said Bryan Lilley, air show chairman.

“We’re fortunate that we’ve had a jet demonstration team every year, and we’ve had a military jet demonstration team four out of the last five years. So this’ll be the third time in the last five years the Thunderbirds have come to Melbourne,” Lilley said.

The Thunderbirds will kick off their 2018 show season with a Feb. 18 flyover at the Daytona 500. The Melbourne air show is listed as the squadron’s next public appearance, followed by demonstrations at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia and March Air Reserve Base in California.

“The Thunderbirds are on a two-year-out scheduling process now. So we actually applied for 2018 back in August of ’16,” Lilley said.

This year’s air show also featured the Patrouille De France, F-35A Lightning II Heritage Flight Team, GEICO Skytypers and a Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin generated news headlines by becoming the oldest person to fly with the Thunderbirds at age 87.

Contact Neale at 321-242-3638, or follow RickNeale1 on Twitter.

Article by Rick Neale, Florida Today, Complete Article [ HERE ]

SandCastles Condo - The complex is located just two miles south of the Cocoa Beach Pier and a mile north of downtown Cocoa Beach. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

SandCastles Condo – The complex is located just two miles south of the Cocoa Beach Pier and a mile north of downtown Cocoa Beach. (Image for Space Coast Daily)

There were several changes made to Chapter 718, the Florida Statute governing condominiums, and all went into effect on July 1, 2017. While not exhaustive, below is a list of July 1 changes that you may come across in real estate deals:

• 718.111(12)(c)(1) – A unit renter has a right to inspect and copy the association’s bylaws and rules.

• 718.111(12)(c)(3)(g)(1) – by July 1, 2018, an association with 150 or more units (which does not manage timeshare units) must post digital copies of the required documents on its website.

• 718.116(8) – The association must issue an estoppel certificate within 10 business days of receipt of a written or electronic request for said certificate.

• 718.116(8)(a) – Any condominium estoppel certificate must contain specific assessment information, such as the regular periodic assessment and frequency; an itemized list of all assessments, special assessments and other moneys scheduled to become due; if there is a capital contribution fee, resale fee or other fee due and what the amount is; if there is a right of first refusal provided to the association or the members; and contact information for all insurance maintained by the association, amongst other things.

• 718.116(8)(b) – The estoppel certificate (sent via hand delivery or electronically) has a 30-day effective period (35-days if sent by regular mail).

• 718.116(8)(d) – If a requested estoppel certificate is not delivered within 10 business days, a fee may not be charged for the preparation and delivery of that estoppel letter.

• 718.116(8)(f) – The association may charge a reasonable fee for preparation and delivery of an estoppel certificate that may not exceed $250.00; if the certificate is requested on an expedited basis and delivered within 3 business days after the request, however, the association may charge an additional $150.00; an additional fee of up to $150.00 may also be charged for an estoppel certificate on a unit if a delinquent amount is owed.

The Florida Legislature also added other new condominium association rules this year. If a unit owner is denied docs and fraud can be proved, for example, it could be a felony; and board director terms are now limited to eight years with a few exceptions.

For complete info on July 1 condo law changes, refer to the bill, HB 1237, which Gov. Scott signed on June 26.

Article by Space Coast Daily, Complete Article [ HERE ]