||3-2-1 Blastoff for Florida's Space Coast
By Todd Halvorson
Cape Canaveral Bureau Chief
posted: 12:23 pm
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."
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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