Space Florida Appoves Deal With Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin

Brig. Gen. Steven Garland, 14th Air Force vice commander, left, provides remarks at a Blue Origin media event held at Space Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, Sept 15, 2015. (Credit: USAF/Matthew Jurgens)
Brig. Gen. Steven Garland, 14th Air Force vice commander, left, provides remarks at a Blue Origin media event held at Space Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, Sept 15, 2015. (Credit: USAF/Matthew Jurgens)

The Space Florida board of directors has approved a deal with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin giving the company rights to a Cape Canaveral launch pad and land for a facility to manufacture rockets.

Blue Origin will lease Launch Complex 36 from Space Florida, which controls the pad through November 2019. The company at some point is expected to lease the facility directly from the Air Force.

Blue Origin will pay for all improvements to the launch complex and for its ongoing maintenance.

Bezos last month said the company planned to build a large processing facility there and a stand for test-firing BE-4 rocket engines — powered by liquefied natural gas and producing 550,000 pounds of thrust — to be sure they are ready for launch….

In addition, Blue Origin will sub-lease from Space Florida 139 acres of NASA property at Exploration Park for its rocket factory. That agreement initially runs through 2030, with renewal options available until 2065.

In total, Blue Origin is expected to invest between $205 million and $220 million in local infrastructure, eventually creating 330 jobs with average wages of about $89,000. The company will receive at least $18 million in state incentives, including $8 million from the North Brevard Economic Development Zone.