Amazon CEO Says He'll Launch Rockets From Florida

Jeff Bezos plans on making spacecraft, launching them from Cape Canaveral
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2015 1:05 PM CDT
Amazon CEO Says He'll Launch Rockets From Florida
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos applauds at the start of the launch event for the new Amazon Fire Phone, June 18, 2014, in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

When Jeff Bezos graduated valedictorian from Miami Palmetto Senior High in 1982, he told the Miami Herald that one day he wanted to "build space hotels, amusement parks, yachts, and colonies for two or three million people orbiting around the Earth." The Amazon CEO just took a major step toward that goal in announcing today that his aerospace company will build a Florida rocket-manufacturing plant next to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, as well as refurb a Cape Canaveral launching pad, Reuters reports. Speaking from Cape Canaveral, Bezos went over the revamped blueprint for Blue Origin, the firm he founded 15 years ago, NPR reports. "The [Complex 36] site saw its last launch in 2005 and the pad has stood silent for more than 10 years—too long," he writes in a blog post. "We can't wait to fix that."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was also at today's event, and noted that the Blue Origin initiative will bring more than 300 jobs and $220 million to the region's economy, per NPR. The BE-4 engines Bezos wants to use in the rockets will also be tested at the new facility, with the first qualification for flight expected in 2017 and the first Vulcan launch anticipated for 2019, per Blue Origin. Bezos, who ended the blog post with his company's "Gradatim Ferociter!" motto—Wired explains it means "step-by-step, ferociously" in Latin—noted at the end of the presser that "one day … I look forward to having a press conference with you guys in space," per his Washington Post. (One person who may want to watch this development: SpaceX founder and now-competitor Elon Musk.)

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