Kennedy Space Center’s next job.

There was a lot of apprehension in Central Florida when the Space Shuttle was retired. They’re big vehicles with big missions that require lots and lots of support staff (read: jobs). So it’s encouraging that, now that the STS missions are over, Sen. Ben Nelson has announced that something else will be going on at the Kennedy Space Center:

Specifically, NASA decided to house management of a big part of the operation of the International Space Station (ISS) near Kennedy Space Center. In doing so it selected a nonprofit to manage all the research related to the space station national laboratory.

“This is a big deal,” Nelson said. “It’s going to bring money, jobs and industry to diversify an area hard-hit by retirement of the shuttle program.”

The cooperative agreement initially will have a value of up to $15 million per year, he said.

NASA is expected to announce this afternoon it has selected the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space Inc. (CASIS) to develop and manage the U.S. portion of the space station that will be operated as a national laboratory.