Port Canaveral Cruise ships, space launches experience timing conflicts

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — Florida’s space coast is booming, and that success is creating conflicts between the nation’s busiest spaceport and the world’s second-largest cruise port.


This week, Space Florida told lawmakers the issue of timing cruise ships and space launches is a good problem to have.

Dale Ketcham, vice president of government and external relations, said there were 35 launches last year and 57 so far this year.

Read: Port Canaveral sets record for passengers coming through the port

“Things have changed and improved significantly since 2021,” Ketcham said.

The space coast will see nearly 100 launches this year, and talks about issues involving cruise ships arriving and departing at Port Canaveral are already underway.

Read: Crewed, uncrewed missions to lead busy year on Space Coast

According to a release, general exclusion zones are imposed for boats, depending on the flight path. This can also help prevent any debris on the water.

Now, Space Florida is leading a Florida spaceport system maritime intermodal transportation study, which will bring together the U.S. Space Force, NASA, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy and the commercial space industry.

Read: SpaceX successfully launches Falcon 9 rocket carrying Starlink satellites

“Florida is confronting, for the first time, challenges that every other spaceport in the world will eventually confront,” Ketcham said.

Space Florida said that as the space industry continues to grow and evolve rapidly, a comprehensive approach will be needed to ensure that Florida is positioned as the gateway to space.

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