Blue Origin Launches Engine Building Plant

Blue Origin, a rocket engine company founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, went from ground-breaking to ribbon-cutting in a year to open the company’s facility in Cummings Research Park.

Blue Origin held a press conference Monday with a stage full of dignitaries to laud the moment. Among those attending were Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong, U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt and Mo Brooks, and U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.

Bezos did not attend the event at the $200 million, 350,000 square-foot plant, which will make the company’s reusable BE-4 and BE-3U engines that will aid space travel from human exploration to national security.

“At the core of every successful launch vehicle program are the engines that power those vehicles to space,’’ Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said. “Early on in Blue Origin’s history, we made a crucial decision to invest in developing the next generation of reusable rocket engines.

“And now, it’s an exciting time for Blue, our partners and this country – we are on the path to deliver on our promise to end the reliance on Russian-made engines – and it’s all happening right here, right now, in the great state of Alabama. We couldn’t be prouder to call this our home for engine production.”

Blue Origin, which Bezos founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Kent, Wash., said the plant will add more than 300 jobs to the local economy.

While Blue Origin plans to build cutting-edge reusable rockets, the firm turned to the past to help launch its mission. It spent $50 million to renovate Marshall Space Flight Center’s test stand 4670, which was used to test the Saturn rocket that would take men to the moon in 1969.