WASHINGTON — Blue Origin has broken ground on the orbital vehicle manufacturing complex it expects to open just outside the gates of Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in December 2017.
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos emailed reporters June 28 to share new renderings and photos of ground-clearing activities at the site. “It’s exciting to see the bulldozers in action — we’re clearing the way for the production of a reusable fleet of orbital vehicles that we will launch and land, again and again,” he wrote.
Bezos announced plans for the factory last September during a Cape Canaveral press conference attended by Florida’s governor.
In his June 28 email — the latest in a series of emails he sends out to provide short updates on Blue Origins’ activities — Bezos described the 750,000 square foot rocket factory as “custom-built from the ground up to accommodate manufacturing, processing, integration and testing.
“Among other things, the facility hosts large scale friction stir welding and automated composite processing equipment,” he wrote. “All of the vehicle will be manufactured in this facility except for the engines. Initial BE-4 engine production will occur at our Kent facility while we conduct a site selection process later this year for a larger engine production facility to accommodate higher production rates.”