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Blue Origin planning 90-acre expansion with new facilities outside the gates of Kennedy Space Center

Blue Origin planning 90-acre expansion with new facilities at Kennedy Space Center
Blue Origin has built a a more than $200 million rocket facility at Exploration Park in Cape Canaveral.
Blue Origin has built more than $200 million rocket facility at Exploration Park in Cape Canaveral. (Chabeli Herrera / Orlando Sentinel) Chabeli Herrera Contact Reporter Orlando Sentinel  Monday, March 25, 2019
 
Blue Origin is expanding its footprint on the Space Coast with another phase of development on its massive factory outside Kennedy Space Center.
According to documents filed with the St. Johns River Water Management District, the Jeff Bezos-owned rocket company is planning a nearly 90-acre expansion to connect with its current facility at the state-owned Exploration Park just outside the gates of KSC.
The project characterizes the expansion as a south campus of Blue Origin’s current, $200 million-plus rocket factory. According to the records, the new facilities will provide for the “manufacture and provisioning of commercial space launch vehicles,” and include the construction of a warehouse, roads, parking and a road for transporting rockets. Florida Today was first to report the news.
Under the terms of its lease, which will be in effect for at least 50 years, Blue Origin will pay NASA $20.3 million for the new site. The company did not comment on its expansion plans.
The development is yet another expansion on what is Blue Origin’s growing footprint. It’s already opened its massive 750,000-square-foot factory on the Cape and has plans to build a new testing and refurbishment facility on the Space Coast that will create about 50 jobs.
“They know they are going to need a lot more room,” said Dale Ketcham, vice president of government and external relations at Space Florida, the state’s spaceport authority.
St. Johns River Water Management District
Blue Origin is planning a nearly 90-acre expansion to connect with its current facility at the state-owned Exploration Park just outside the gates of Kennedy Space Center.
Blue Origin is planning a nearly 90-acre expansion to connect with its current facility at the state-owned Exploration Park just outside the gates of Kennedy Space Center. (St. Johns River Water Management District)
At the current rocket factory, Blue Origin is building its New Glenn rocket, with plans to launch as soon as 2020. Blue is also refurbishing launch complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The expansion spells good news for the Space Coast as it continues to attract the manufacturing arm of the space industry — not just the launch arm — to the Cape. Space startup Firefly announced last month it was planning to build a $52 million rocket factory at Exploration Park. Blue’s other neighbor, satellite manufacturer One Web, is also building a manufacturing facility outside KSC.
And just this week, Elon Musk’s SpaceX said on Twitter that the company is working on obtaining regulatory approval to build its new Starship and Super Heavy rocket, for missions to the moon and beyond, simultaneously in both Boca Chica, Texas and Kennedy Space Center.
For Space Florida, which markets the state to launch providers, the new additions just make it easier to make the case for Florida.
“If Blue Origin and SpaceX are continuing to make significant capital investments and add more jobs here, we will defer to their wisdom,” Ketcham said.
Want more space news? Follow Go For Launch on Facebook. Contact the reporter at cherrera@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5660; Twitter @ChabeliH
 
 



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The City of Titusville, Florida
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