Blue Origins, Jeff Bezos' private space travel company (and competitor to Elon Musk's SpaceX), is setting up shop in Florida. Bezos announced this morning that the company is building a manufacturing facility for its reusable orbital vehicles, and that it'll be launching from the nearby Spaceport Launch 36 complex, Geekwire reports. Blue Origin will be investing $200 million in Florida, according to Florida Governor Rick Scott, and creating 330 jobs. The news comes a week after Boeing and Lockheed's United Launch Associates agreed to expand production of Blue Origin's BE-4 rocket motor. While there's still plenty of work ahead, Bezos now appears to be one step closer to making his dream of inexpensive space travel a reality. Most intriguingly, he says the company will be launching from the new site "later this decade."
"One of the unique things about our Florida operations is that we aren't just launching here, we're building here," Bezos said in prepared remarks. "At Exploration Park, we'll have a 21st century production facility 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 Origins said earlier this year that it planned to begin testing the BE-4 engine in 2016, so today's announcement is a sign that it may actually be on schedule.