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Jeff Bezos’s rocket company is moving in a few doors down from Elon Musk’s SpaceX in Florida

Amazon founder and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos (L)announces plans to build a rocket manufacturing plant and launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida September 15, 2015. Governor Rick Scott and Steve Crisafulli, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives (R) look on.
Mike Brown/Space Florida
Rocket man.
By Alice Truong
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos, is taking over a historic launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida, joining Elon Musk’s SpaceX and United Launch Alliance joint venture, owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Blue Origin plans to invest $200 million at the site and eventually create 330 jobs.

Bezos, the billionaire founder and CEO of Amazon, announced today (Sept. 15) that Blue Origins will launch its orbital rockets from the Kennedy Space Center’s launch complex 36, which saw its last launch in 2005. Over 43 years of service, complex 36 was the site for 145 launches, including the Mariner missions, the first spacecrafts to fly by Venus, Mars, and Mercury; and Pioneer 10, which was the first ship to travel through the asteroid belt.

© Mark Wade
Map of launch complexes (complex 39A is higher up, 36 lower)

Storied as it may be, complex 36 wasn’t Bezos’s first choice, or the Cape Canaveral launchpad with the most storied past. That would be complex 39A—the launch pad that sent Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon, and was the home of the first and last space shuttle missions. In April 2014, NASA awarded a 20-year lease for complex 39A to SpaceX, after a heated competition with Blue Origin.

Both Blue Origin and SpaceX are racing to build reusable rockets. Blue Origin had a successful test flight in April, and its unmanned New Shepard craft landed safely, but the rocket’s booster crashed due to a malfunction instead of landing, as intended.

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