NASA is busy these days, it doesnt seem that long ago that the shuttle Endeavor returned from its mission to the ISS (International Space Station) at the end of August but now the Space Shuttle Discovery and its crew of Astronauts are getting ready for another Mission to the International Space Station, scheduled to launch October 23rd.
The rocket that blasted off from Florida this morning is for the mission named "Dawn" – a probe is flying out the two Asteroids in the solar system to analyze and send back data. This 4 year long mission is the first to inlude two locations and will cover 1.8 billion miles!
The probe will, once in orbit spread its solar panels and use a small ion engine to start its long journey past Mars to its ‘first stop’ Vesta and then on to dwarf planet Ceres. The mission is planned to end 2015.
On the Shuttle launch, this will be the 23rd shuttle mission to the ISS and will bring the Harmony Node 2 – an italian built lab which will be added to the station – truly reflecting the international nature of the station.
The launch will take a European Space Agency astronaut on his first space flight.
Homesgofast.com reports that overseas property investors are increasngly looking to US Real Estate bargains to add to their portfolio.
As reported on this blog before there is a new wave of Europeans who are investing in the Florida market, especially with the strong Euro/weak dollar.
Of course, Florida is popular with Brits and always has been, gorgeous weather and affordable property combined with good access in terms of flights to major airports like Tampa, Orlando International, Orlando Sanford and Miami!
International buyers are spoilt for choice, with emerging eastern european and south american/caribbean markets growing rapidly, yet the US market is where they are looking – especially after the slow down in price growth.
Nicholas Marr, CEO of Homesgofast.com reported that the US housing market may now be ripe for picking! Even NAR (the National Association of Realtors stated in a recent report that a quarter of Realtors were seeing more international business in 2006 than 5 years previous – with a fifth of Realtors stating that they had sold a property to a foreign investor in the past years and a third believing that international buyers wishing to retire/part retire were an important market.
Currently around 800,000 Brits (1.3% of the population of 60 million) own a property abroad, and about 4 million Americans (1.3% of the population of 300 million) own a foreign property.
With 973,000 visitors from the UK to Orlando last year it is no wonder that British Airways want to increase the number of flights to Central Florida. The number of Brits visiting the area made up about a third of all international visitors.
Orlando International Airport is one of the major hubs for flights in the state and is currently spending millions of dollars on refurbishment and expansion to cope with the influx of visitors.
Beginning on March 30th the airline will add three flights a week to its already impressive number taking its total of 10 nonstop a week – this will mean twice daily flights Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and a once daily flight the other days.
Of course this is coupled with Virgin Atlantics number of routes to Orlando from Gatwick and Manchester.
This is of course in addition to the new Frankfurt route by Lufthansa as well as Aer Lingus’s direct flights to Dublin starting at the end of October.
This is definately exciting developments as it feeds the huge demand for access to Central Florida!
Fisher Island is a man made island that is home to the rich and famous in Miami Beach, with average property prices toppling $3.5 million easily.
The island was names after developer Carl Fisher and is awash with waterfront homes and boat docks. There is also a Country Club which is world renouned and with the median income of $200,000 residents are definately high income earners.
Residents include Chairman of the Vector Group, Bennett LeBow & mutual fund manager Martin Zweig.
In fact due to recent price increases this top spot it now shared with Apline, New Jersey (07620) who posted a $1.06 million median price increase this year, that area is well known as a haven for stock brokers and wall street money magnets.
This is great news for European Visitors as the German Airline, Lufthansa have finally opened their new route between their main hub in Frankfurt to Orlando International Airport.
This route will be popular with German and other European tourists, it could also be used by UK residents who are looking for an alternative route to the direct flights from Gatwick to Orlando.
The route will be served by a Airbus 330-300 beginning October 30th, the 221 seat plan will accomodate passengers in comfort and style. The inaugaral flight leaves Orlando International Airport at 8.25pm and arrives local time at Frankfurt (UK +1) at 11.20am the following day and will be available five times a week.
This is definately exciting news for Central Florida Tourism!
US Presidential hopeful Republican Fred Thompson a former Tennessee Senator visited Central Florida last week.
Readers in the UK will better know Fred for his role in Law and Order as well as The Hunt for Red October – you may even remember him as the Air Traffic Controller in Die Hard 2!
Fred announced his Presidency campaign later than the other candidates – however there is plenty of time as the election is not until November 2008.
One thursday he visited Jacksonville in the morning, the retirement community just north of Leesburg outside Orlando called The Villages mid-day and for the late afternoon/evening he came to Celebration!
Hundreds of Floridians came out to see Fred in his tour of the state which took him to Miami on Friday.
This shows again how Florida is a key state in the Presidental election. Many supporters however wanted to meet and talk to one of their favorite TV actors!
Florida Maps are available on many sites on the internet, for different uses such as vacation planning and traffic and travel or even weather. However, apart from Google Maps, VisitFlorida.com has an excellent range of maps for different uses – including historic ones from an age before GPS and the first discovery of the Americas.