Blue Origin opens Alabama rocket engine factory

Blue Origin factory opening in Alabama
Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith wields a scissors alongside other VIPs during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the company’s rocket engine factory in Huntsville, Ala. (Blue Origin Photo)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture opened the doors of its engine factory in America’s Rocket City today, and promised that next-generation BE-4 engines would be rolling off the production line within a few months.

It was up to Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith to cut the ribbon on the company’s 350,000-square-foot, $200 million factory in Huntsville, Ala., where rocket engines for America’s space effort have been developed since the days of Wernher von Braun.

“We couldn’t be prouder to call this our home for engine production,” Smith said.

The very first BE-4 engines are being made at Blue Origin’s headquarters in Kent, Wash., however. Tooling equipment still has to be set up on the factory floor in Huntsville, and it’ll take until this summer to get the production line up to speed.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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