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The Amazon founder wants to shoulder up to the big boys.
This two years after NASA gave SpaceX a coveted spot the the Kennedy Space Center, where the space shuttle program launched until it ended in 2011. Blue Origin appealed that decision but lost. United Launch Alliance, a space company joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, also occupies a nearby NASA Space Coast launch pad.
Cape Canaveral saw the launch of manned vehicles in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.
“The site saw its last launch in 2005 and the pad has stood silent for more than 10 years—too long,” said Bezos in a statement. “We can’t wait to fix that.”
SpaceX and Boeing have been making waves lately in the U.S. private space race. But Blue Origin, along with Orbital Science, Scorpius, and others are also developing rockets capable of delivering payloads to orbit.
Blue Origin hopes to launch its first rocket from Launch Complex 36 by the end of the decade. It also plans to manufacture the rockets in Florida, to save money on transportation to the launch site. Components will be manufactured by a United Launch Alliance.
“At Exploration Park, we’ll have a 21st century production facility,” Bezos wrote, “where we’ll focus on manufacturing our reusable fleet of orbital launchers and readying them for flight again and again. Locating vehicle assembly near our launch site eases the challenge of processing and transporting really big rockets.”
Blue Origin is headquartered in Kent, Washington, near Seattle, and has a launch site in West Texas where it intends to test its reusable crew capsule and propulsion module, the New Shepard.
Curt Hopkins has over two decades of experience as a journalist, editorial strategist, and social media manager. His work has been published by Ars Technica, Reuters, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle. He is the also founding director of the Committee to Protect Bloggers, the first organization devoted to global free speech rights for bloggers