Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has revealed plans to build a rocket manufacturing plant and launch site from Florida’s ‘Space Coast’, the area around Kennedy Space Centre and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Bezos’ space start-up, Blue Origin, will invest $200m in new manufacturing facilities and take control of the Launch Complex 36 pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the BBC has reported.
At the launch yesterday (15th September), Bezos said: “As a kid, I was inspired by the giant Saturn 5 (Apollo moon) missions that roared to life from these shores. Today, we’re thrilled to be coming to the Sunshine State for a new era of exploration.”
Blue Origin is based in Kent, Washington, but has been drawn to Florida by the incentives on offer following the retirement of the American space shuttles and the jobs that were lost as a consequence.
According to Reuters, Bezos’ announcement comes at a “pivotal” time in the US space industry, which is “luring” private investment and technological innovation in an attempt to lower the cost of space travel and improve safety.
Following the move to 'Space Coast', Blue Origin will be in competition with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and other start-ups supported by billionaire entrepreneurs, including Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Virgin Group c.e.o. Richard Branson.
The $200m investment is expected to create roughly 300 jobs.