Blue Origin's Rocket Factory Breaks Ground

blue origin ground breaking aerial view
An aerial view of the site of Blue Origin's new facility, where the company will manufacture, process, integrate and test its orbital vehicle, unofficially referred to as Very Big Brother. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

Jeff Bezos is building a home for his Very Big Brother. 

The founder and CEO's private spaceflight company, Blue Origin, has stepped into the spotlight this past year thanks to dramatic videos that show the organization's New Shepard suborbital rocket launching and then making perfect vertical landings. Just this month, Blue Origin presented a webcast of one of those landings, which was the very first live broadcast of the dramatic event.

Preparation begins at the site of Blue Origin's new orbital rocket facility in Florida. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

But the company wants to soar beyond suborbital space, and today (June 28) Bezos announced in an email to reporters that the company has broken ground on a new facility in Florida. There, Blue Origin will manufacture, process, integrate and test its orbital launch vehicle, which Bezos has previously referred to unofficially as "Very Big Brother." [Photos: Glimpses of Secretive Blue Origin's Private Spaceships]

"The 750,000-square-foot [70,000 square meters] rocket factory is custom-built from the ground up," Bezos wrote. "It's exciting to see the bulldozers in action — we're clearing the way for the production of a reusable fleet of orbital vehicles that we will launch and land, again and again."

An artist's rendition of Blue Origin's new Florida facility, where the company will manufacture and test orbital rockets. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

Bezos' email included images of the site and artists' renditions of what the completed facility will look like. The company is aiming to have the facility complete in December 2017, Bezos said. He announced, in September 2015, that the company will launch rockets and spacecraft from Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

"All of the vehicle will be manufactured in this facility except for the engines," Bezos wrote. 

Blue Origin's orbital rocket will be powered by the company's BE-4 engine. The company has also entered into a contract to sell the BE-4 to United Launch Alliance (ULA), one of the nation's most veteran space-launch providers, for that company's next-generation rockets.

A wide view of the artist's rendition of Blue Origin's new Florida facility, where the company plans to manufacture and test orbital rockets. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

"Initial BE-4 engine production will occur at our Kent [Washington] facility, while we conduct a site-selection process later this year for a larger engine-production facility to accommodate higher production rates," Bezos wrote. 

Blue Origin has said it will sell space on the suborbital New Shepard vehicles for scientific experiments, as well as space tourism. The suborbital trips will last for a matter of hours, and passengers (or cargo) will experience weightlessness for a brief period. 

Follow Calla Cofield @callacofield. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Calla Cofield
Senior Writer

Calla Cofield joined's crew in October 2014. She enjoys writing about black holes, exploding stars, ripples in space-time, science in comic books, and all the mysteries of the cosmos. Prior to joining Calla worked as a freelance writer, with her work appearing in APS News, Symmetry magazine, Scientific American, Nature News, Physics World, and others. From 2010 to 2014 she was a producer for The Physics Central Podcast. Previously, Calla worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (hands down the best office building ever) and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Calla studied physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is originally from Sandy, Utah. In 2018, Calla left to join NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory media team where she oversees astronomy, physics, exoplanets and the Cold Atom Lab mission. She has been underground at three of the largest particle accelerators in the world and would really like to know what the heck dark matter is. Contact Calla via: E-Mail – Twitter