Florida Today has a report on Blue Origin’s efforts to secure an orbital launch site, which could be wrapped within the next month. Florida is one of several states vying to become a manufacturing and launch site for Jeff Bezos’ rocket company.
The state’s revised proposal would have Blue Origin set up a manufacturing site in Exploration Park, a planned research and industrial complex outside KSC’s south gate, and launch from Launch Complex 36, a state-run pad on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Talks about the so-called Project Panther initially focused on the state’s proposed Shiloh commercial launch complex, which straddles the Brevard-Volusia border on property NASA shares with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. A rocket factory would have been located in nearby Oak Hill in southern Volusia County.
Like SpaceX, which plans to build a private launch complex in Texas, Blue Origin believes commercial launchers need facilities outside NASA or Air Force control to thrive, just as commercial aviation operates independently from military bases.
Speculation about the company’s pursuit of operations at Shiloh and in Volusia County began in February when the owner of a 400-acre property in Oak Hill sought a zoning change to permit manufacturing.
Shiloh opponents, upset by the project’s secrecy and worried it might involve hazardous operations near the refuge and Canaveral National Seashore, fought the zoning change.
KSC, which is touting its transformation into a multi-user spaceport, instead encouraged the company to consider alternatives outlined in KSC’s master plan. The plan suggests two locations for commercial launch pads near the center’s two existing pads.
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