It is hard enough to design and build a rocket that can reach space. But that is just the beginning. The next step is finding a place to launch it.
After its first successful launch to space last April, the secretive private space company Blue Origin now has a home for its “New Shepherd” spacecraft at Florida’s Cape Canaveral launch complex.
Blue Origin’s investment will cost $US200 million and create 330 new jobs in Florida.
“Our new home here on the space coast is anchored right here at launch Complex 36,” founder and owner of Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, announced today. “The site saw its last launch in 2005 and the pad has stood silent for more than 10 years. Too long! We can’t wait to fix that.”
Bezos said that they will soon begin testing their rocket’s engines at the complex and expect to start launching the rockets within the next decade.
Blue Origin’s “New Shepard” spacecraft is designed to eventually boost six people to space, where they can experience weightlessness for 10 minutes before returning to Earth.
The ride is for entertainment and therefore not exclusively for astronauts, but these kinds of temporary spaceflights could become a new way for astronauts to train for coming space missions.
With Blue Origin’s investment as well as SpaceX and NASA’s rockets taking up space on other launch complexes at Cape Canaveral, the facility is once again coming to life with the roar of rocket engines, said Senator Bill Nelson during the announcement.