Blue Origin Building Additional Rocket Facility On Florida’s Space Coast
Blue Origin plans to build an additional facility just south of the Kennedy Space Center. The state will help with some of the construction costs.
The private rocket company headed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos already has a giant rocket manufacturing facility just south of Kennedy Space Center at Exploration Park.
Much like SpaceX, Blue Origin plans to land the first stage booster to reuse it. But the company will need additional facilities to refurbish the rocket. Space Florida’s Dale Ketcham said that’s why Blue Origin is building the additional facility.
“It will be a brand new large building, not as big as their giant one they have here, but it will be two new additions of buildings to provide critical services on their launch vehicle,” said Ketcham.
The Florida Department of Transportation will pay up to $4 million dollars to help build roads and infrastructure around the new buildings — a key to bringing the facility and additional jobs to the area.
“They’re bringing in an additional 50 jobs that could have gone elsewhere,” said Ketcham, “but we were able to participate in negotiating them to come here.”
The deal was voted on by the Space Florida board of directors at a meeting in Tampa last month. The state will also kick in an additional one million dollars for expedited construction costs.
Blue Origin plans to launch the New Glenn rocket in 2020 from Cape Canaveral.
The company recently won a contract to manufacture its BE-4 engines for United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan-Centaur rocket. It’s the same engine used on the New Glenn rocket, but the company will manufacture the engines at a facility in Alabama.
Blue Origin is wrapping up tests on a sub-orbital rocket, called New Shepard, that launches from a facility in West Texas. Blue will eventually take tourists to the edge of space where they will experience weightlessness and a few of the Earth through giant glass windows.
Bezos is investing about $1 billion of his own money each year into the company by selling his stock in Amazon.
Editors note: Story updated with the correct amount of FDOT money being used for infrastructure updates. A previous version had an incorrect figure.
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