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Blue Origin plans rocket service center in Florida

New Glenn landing
An artist’s conception shows Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket booster landing on a recovery ship. (Blue Origin Illustration via YouTube)

Blue Origin, the space venture created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has struck a deal with Florida’s spaceport authority to build a $60 million rocket testing and refurbishment facility near Cape Canaveral.

The facility would be constructed at Space Florida’s Exploration Park to provide support services for the $205 million, 750,000-square-foot New Glenn rocket manufacturing factory that Blue Origin already has built in Florida. Orbital-class New Glenn rockets are due to enter service by as early as 2020 and will be sent into space from Launch Complex 36, which is being leased from Space Florida.

Blue Origin is designing the New Glenn rocket to have a reusable first-stage booster, and the new facility would be where recovered boosters are refurbished and tested. The company’s plans were the subject of a Space Florida board meeting last month, and came to light this week in an Orlando Sentinel report.

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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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