From a Shuttle shutdown to a commercial space rebirth, Florida’s Space Coast aerospace base diversified.
In a pivotal moment for the nation’s commercial human spaceflight interests, today, Blue Origin, LLC, a privately-funded aerospace company owned by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, announced the selection of Florida’s Space Coast as the site for the company’s next multi-million dollar manufacturing and processing facility.
Blue Origin’s Orbital Launch Vehicle (OLV) will be designed, manufactured, launched and ultimately returned to Brevard County, Florida. This marks the first time all aspects of commercial spacecraft development and launch will be completed within the Space Coast.
“We are thrilled to announce that Blue Origin has selected Florida for this exciting new venture into space travel and their creation of 330 new jobs for Florida families,” said Governor Rick Scott. “Florida is on a mission to be the global leader in job creation. Blue Origin is on a mission to expand innovation and exploration into space. Today we begin working together to make both of those missions a reality. Enterprise Florida was instrumental in bringing Blue Origin to Florida, and we must keep working to fully fund their toolkit and bring more great jobs to Florida.”
“Florida’s Space Coast was known as strictly the place for launch. The EDC and this community took proactive measures prior to the retirement of the shuttle program to attract diversity in the aerospace industry,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and chief executive officer, Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. “Today’s event is the culmination of vision and many years of hard work managed together to obtain a larger share of the commercial space market.”
Blue Origin plans to create 330 jobs with an average wage of $89,000, and will make a significant capital investment of $205 million over five years through the selection of a site in Exploration Park, just south of Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida. The company is expected to break ground on the new processing facility in early 2016.
Georgia, North Carolina, and other sites within Florida were considered for potential operation centers before ultimately selecting Brevard County during this competitive relocation process.
“For decades, Florida has led the world in space flight and we are now at the forefront of commercial space travel,” said Bill Johnson, president and chief executive officer, Enterprise Florida. “The state provides the ideal business climate for innovative companies like Blue Origin to come to Florida and succeed, and we look forward to watching them push this industry to places it has yet to go.”
“This announcement is the result of a marriage of visions,” said Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello. “It is Florida’s vision to be the world’s greatest spaceport and Blue’s vision to push the boundaries of space travel. Nothing is more exciting than the arrival of an historic business venture that brings with it prosperity and the promise of exploring the stars.”
“The dreams of this community didn’t end with the Shuttle program; they simply had time to grow,” said Brevard County Board of County Commission Chair Robin Fisher. “What you are seeing today is the next level of what is possible when community leaders insist that there is a brighter tomorrow. We thank Jeff and the Blue Origin team for realizing our vision.
“Blue Origin’s confidence in the innovation, talent and ultimately, the people, of this community, is what the next generation of space flight is all about,” said George Mikitarian, president of the North Brevard Economic Development Zone. “We welcome Blue Origin to North Brevard and wish them success as they grow and reach new heights.”
The EDC played a critical role to help bring Blue Origin to the Space Coast. Partners on this competitive project also included Enterprise Florida, Space Florida, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, North Brevard Economic Development Zone, Brevard County, Florida Power & Light and CareerSource Brevard.