15 Sep Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space company to launch from historic pad at Space Coast
Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space company will take over a launch pad at Cape Canaveral and open a manufacturing site nearby, bringing another high-profile tenant to the Florida Space Coast.
Standing on a stage fit for a rock star, Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com, said Tuesday that Blue Origin would fly its orbital launch vehicle from space launch complex 36, a historic launch pad that was home to 145 launches, including the Mariner missions and Pioneer 10.
But, as Bezos noted, “the pad has stood silent for more than 10 years — too long. We can’t wait to fix that.”
He said that Blue would be “launching from here later this decade” but didn’t provide any other details about the company’s timing. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Earlier this year, Kent, Wash.-based Blue Origin completed its first uncrewed test flight of its New Shepard vehicle, which reached Mach 3, or three times the speed of sound, and an altitude of 307,000 feet, very close to what’s considered the threshold for space.
Like Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin wants to fly tourists into suborbital space, allowing them the chance to view the Earth from more than 60 miles away and experience weightlessness.
Bezos’s company will join a growing number of commercial entities that are slowly transforming the center into what NASA calls a “multi-user spaceport,” and reinvigorating a historic stretch of coast, which has suffered since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has a lease to operate launch complex 39A, the historic site previously used by the space shuttle program. Boeing is also increasing its presence there, taking over a former shuttle facility to build its new capsule, the CST-100 Starliner.