3-2-1 Blastoff for Florida's Space Coast Telephones
By Todd Halvorson

Cape Canaveral Bureau Chief

posted: 12:23 pm ET
01 November 1999

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The historic birthplace of Americaís space program is blasting into the new millennium with a fitting new area code -- (321).

Home of NASAís Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Station, Floridaís Space Coast has hosted near-countless launch countdowns since the dawn of the Space Age.

Consequently, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and other officials said it was especially appropriate that the state Public Service Commission approved the new area code, which is needed to accommodate central Floridaís growing population and the rising number of telephones, faxes, cell phones and pagers.

"Itís a great idea," said Edward OíConnor, executive director of Spaceport Florida Authority, the stateís space agency. "I think it reaffirms Floridaís commitment to space, and now all of east-central Florida is clearly identified with the space program."
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Bush made a ceremonial first call to the new area code from Tallahassee, the state capital, on Monday. Senior NASA, Air Force and aerospace industry officials were on the other end of the video teleconference at the KSC headquarters building in Cape Canaveral.

In making the call, Bush thanked Robert Osband, a Titusville, Fla. computer consultant who first pitched the idea for the (321) area code and then lobbied heavily for it.

"I want to thank Ozzie for coming up with a simple, bold idea," Bush said. "Good ideas donít have to come with a lot of syllables attached to them. They can be simple and powerful, and it was one of those light bulb ideas."

Osband, meanwhile, already has secured a coveted cellular telephone number - 321-LIFTOFF - much to the chagrin of local tourism officials. And despite a lot of arm-twisting, he doesnít plan on giving it up.

"The tourism people want it bad," Osband said. "But Iím not giving that one up. Not if I can help it."


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