by 1st Lt. Alicia Premo
9/16/2015 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The
45th Space Wing expanded commercial space launch operations by
welcoming Blue Origin to the Eastern Range during a media event held at
Space Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida,
Sept. 15, 2015.
During the Blue Origin event, Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and
Amazon.com CEO, announced his intent to build rockets on the Space Coast
and launch them from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The company has
been collaborating with the 45th Space Wing, Space Florida and other
agencies to construct a manufacturing facility in Exploration Park near
the Kennedy Space Center and then launch rockets from the Air Force
station as soon as 2019.
"Today, we're coming to the sunshine state for a new era of
exploration," said Bezos. "At Exploration Park, we'll have a 21st
century production facility where we'll focus on manufacturing our
reusable fleet of orbital launchers and readying them for flight again
Other guest speakers included Brig. Gen. Steven Garland, 14th Air Force
vice commander, U.S. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida Gov. Rick Scott,
Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana, and other community
At the event, Garland commented on the Air Force's commitment to providing assured access to space.
"The time is right for Air Force Space Command and its Space Wings to
use our technological advances to accommodate more commercial space
activity," Garland said. "He also said, "The 45th Space Wing has worked
aggressively to make launch property available to commercial space
launch activities and to date has leased or licensed 65 Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station facilities totaling more than 800,000 square feet at a
value of more than $890 million."
Florida's U.S. Senator Bill Nelson also welcomed the newest space launch
provider to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and expressed his support
for their mission at the ceremony.
"These launch pads are coming alive again," Nelson said. "Jeff Bezos,
you have made the right decision. You have brought your company to a
place in America where we share your dream of exploring space and where
we have the proven skill, knowledge and dedication to make that dream
come alive. I want to welcome you to the Cape and to Florida."
Garland added, "As the discussion on space continues to evolve, we
continue to listen to our customers and focus on the things that are
important to them. Whether it's providing regulatory confidence,
increasing range operational efficiency or by working with our other
range partners to provide scheduling assurance, these improvements and
additions to the nation's space transportation infrastructure all
contribute to a robust and cost effective space transportation
capability for both public and private sector users, which meets the
exact intent of the Commercial Space Launch Act."
In conclusion the general spoke of the historical significance of the day.
"We are honored that you have chosen the Eastern Range as your launch
location. That choice now cements your place in space history as part of
the legacy known as Cape Canaveral Air Force Station," Garland said.
Blue Origin is a private company aimed at developing vehicles and
technologies to enable commercial human space transportation. The
company's most recent accomplishment is a successful unmanned test
flight of its suborbital spacecraft called the New Shepard, which took
off from Blue Origin's private West Texas launch site, April 29, 2015.