Jeff Bezos' space firm Blue Origin to establish ambitious space port in Florida

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Sep 16, 2015, 1:02 PM EDT

With companies like SpaceX and Boeing already rocking along, the private space race is red-hot — and now Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space firm is setting up its own mini-spaceport.

Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon, has been working in parallel with Elon Musk to spend a chunk of his fortune on private spaceflight projects. Now the company has announced plans to set up a base in Florida to serve as a home port for reusable rocket launches.

The company will soon begin launching rockets from Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, with plans to build a “21st century production facility” designed to manufacture a fleet of reusable spacecraft. Considering SpaceX has arguably been at the forefront of this private space movement, it’s huge to see Blue Origin make such an ambitious move.

Complex 36 is the same place the Mariner missions, Pioneer 10 and Surveyor 1 launched from — so there’s definitely some major space history here. It’s been dormant for 10 years, so this move will also bring the launch site back online. Win win. Blue Origin has been a player for a while, but this is a major step up. Of course, competition breeds innovation, so if we’re talking space race, it’s the more the merrier.

"As a kid, I was inspired by the giant Saturn V missions that roared to life from these very shores," Bezos said during the announcement, via Space. "Today, we're thrilled to be coming to the Sunshine State for a new era of exploration."

The company plans to launch from the new port within the next decade, and they’ll spend the next few years testing the American-made BE-4 engine that powers Blue Origin’s orbital launch vehicle. It might take another few years, but we can’t wait to see what Blue Origin accomplishes.

(Via Blue Origin, Space)