Blue Origin a Step Closer to Landing at Cape Canaveral

New Shepard Lifts Off Credit : Blue Origin

New Shepard Lifts Off
Credit : Blue Origin

SpaceX may not have discovered “unicorns dancing in the flame trench” of pad 39A as Elon Musk famously suggested, but the world’s leading NewSpace company looks increasingly likely to have a new, and perhaps equally daring neighbor at Cape Canaveral.

Florida Today reports that Space Florida is closer to signing a deal with Blue Origin which would see the company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos establish a rocket manufacturing facility in Exploration Park which is located immediately adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center.

Those vehicles would in turn lift off from nearby Space Launch Complex 36. While the secretive company has unsurprisingly had little to say about the rocket which may soon be calling Florida home, it is expected to be a fully re-usable orbital system derived from experience gained with its sub-orbital, two-stage New Shepard vehicle currently being tested at the company’s west Texas facility.

If the deal goes through, it is expected to bring several hundred jobs to an area which is slowly, but steadily clawing its way back from job losses and apparent decline which set in with the close-out of the Shuttle program and the ending of that system’s “standing army” which has been estimated to have included as many as 17,000 government employees and contractors.

Although the job losses were distressing, and the signs of that turn-down are abundantly evident throughout the surrounding area, the likely announcement of a second high profile company pursuing re-usable launch systems out of Cape Canaveral only four years after the final Shuttle flight is another sign that the future of the Space Coast may be brighter than anyone would have believed not too long ago. Amazingly, what seems to be coming together is a fascinating combination of “Old” and “New” space in the same location, and an era which could see more rockets of different designs and capabilities lifting off, and flying off, from the Cape than at any time in the history of the space age.

 

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