Science and Technology News

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Air Force welcomes commercial space customer Blue Origin to Launch Complex 36

by 1st Lt. Alicia Premo
Public Affairs


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 and 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 leaders.

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.

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