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Jeff Bezos opens up Blue Origin rocket factory

Image: Bezos at Blue Origin
Billionaire Jeff Bezos stands beside the copper nozzle for a BE-4 rocket engine at Blue Origin’s production facility in Kent, Wash., while journalists snap pictures. (GeekWire photo by Alan Boyle)

KENT, Wash. – For the first time, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos guided a pack of journalists around his Blue Origin rocket factory today and showed off hardware that could send people on suborbital rides to outer space as early as next year.

The billionaire tech entrepreneur also laid out a vision for space commercialization that stretches out for hundreds of years, leading to an era when millions of people would be living and working in space.

“I think space is chock full of resources,” Bezos told reporters. “This is all my view, and I’ll be dead before I’m proved wrong, so it’s a very safe prediction to make. But my view is that there will be a ‘Great Inversion.’”

Today, huge industrial complexes on Earth build components that are sent into space, at a cost of thousands of dollars per pound. Bezos foresees an inversion in that flow of goods. “We’ll make the microprocessors in space, and then we’ll send the little tiny bits to Earth,” Bezos said.

In the long term, Blue Origin could set the stage for moving heavy industries completely off Earth, leaving our planet zoned strictly for “residential and light industrial” use.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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