A private spacecraft company started by Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos is preparing to launch rockets from Cape Canaveral .
Bezos’ Blue Origin will operate at a Cape Canaveral site called Complex 36. The site was used for 145 launches during a 43-year period of service but has been unused since 2006. Blue Origin will commence launches later in this decade and will test its domestically manufactured BE-4 engine at the site on the Atlantic coast of Central Florida.
Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine customers include United Launch Alliance, the main supplier of U.S. defense launches, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. The BE-4 engine will power the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket, which is scheduled to make its first flight in 2019.
Blue Origin will create 330 jobs and invest $200 million investment to make Florida its operational base. At a media briefing attended by Florida Governor Rick Scott, Bezos said his company will be doing more than using the Sunshine State as a launch pad: “We’re not just launching here, we’re building here.”
Blue Origin will open a production facility to manufacture a reusable fleet of orbital launchers, designed for repeated flights.
Bezos’ plan to launch Blue Origin’s New Shepard rockets from Cape Canaveral underscores a broader trend in the private sector to invest in commercial travel in space.