Jeff Bezos: Why Blue Origin is moving to Cape Canaveral, Fla. (+video)
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says that his Blue Origin space company will build rockets and launch them from Cape Canaveral. Fla.
Cape Canaveral, Fla. — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is shipping his space business to Florida.
At a news conference Tuesday, Bezos announced that his Blue Origin space company will build rockets and launch them into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. He expects to invest $200 million and create some 300 jobs.
He plans to send up science payloads and people — including space tourists and even himself. Bezos says he wants to ride one of his own spacecraft into orbit one day.
He expects the first rocket launch from Florida by the end of the decade.
Blue Origin is already testing its suborbital rockets from a remote part of Texas. The first test flight was in April.
The private company will be taking over Launch Complex 36, an historic launch site where the initial American spacecraft to visit other planets was launched. It was last used in 2005.
Blue Origin is based in Kent, Washington.
As The Christian Science Monitor reported earlier this year, Blue Origin hasl teamed up with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide engines for ULA's rockets. ULA is a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin and provides engines to launch military and government satellites to space. Until now, it has been using Russian made engines.
ULA provides almost all of the government's sensitive launches, including satellites and spy equipment. Space X has protested the partnership. Space X filed a lawsuit against a ULA subsidiary for what they believe is a monopoly in the military launch business.
Bezos is expected to continue to battle with SpaceX, run by Elon Musk, for a bigger stake in the private launch business.
One of the biggest battles between the two companies will be over their rocket engines. Blue Origin has been working on a new engine, called Blue Engine-4, for the past three years. Mr. Bruno said it will be another four years until the rockets are ready. The rockets will challenge Space X's family of Falcon rockets, which are also still in development.
Before that, in Dec. 2013, Blue Origin tried to keep NASA from handing its historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Space X, but the protest was denied by the Government Accountability Office.