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Blue Origin Picks Alabama For Rocket Engine Plant

BE-4 engines at Blue Origin's manufacturing facility. Photo: Blue Origin
BE-4 engines at Blue Origin's manufacturing facility. Photo: Blue Origin

Blue Origin says it’s picked Alabama over Florida for its new rocket engine facility. Alabama officials say this will bring 342 jobs and about $200 million in capital investing.

Florida was in the running to host the manufacturing plant but Blue Origin went with Hunstville, Alabama instead.

“Alabama is a great state for aerospace manufacturing and we are proud to produce America’s next rocket engine right here in Rocket City,” said Robert Meyerson, President of Blue Origin. “The area’s skilled workforce and leading role in rocket propulsion development make Huntsville the ideal location for our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.”

Huntsville is known for rocket propulsion -- hosting NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and commercial rocket engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne. "When you look at NASA’s visionary work at the Marshall Space Flight Center, the talent and capacity of Huntsville’s space industry partners, and our expertise in research and development, engineering, and manufacturing, Blue Origin is joining a truly remarkable environment,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

The facility will manufacture Blue Origin's BE-4 engines. The company plans to use the engines on it's orbital rocket New Glenn. Blue Origin is also securing a contract to supply the engines to another private space company, United Launch Alliance, to launch it's next-generation Vulcan rocket.

Back in 2015, Blue Origins CEO Jeff Bezos announced plans to build and launch New Glenn from Florida's Space Coast. The company is building a massive manufacturing facility just south of Kennedy Space Center and plans to launch the rocket from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 36 by 2020.

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Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program.

Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.