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Blue Origin Bids for Shuttle Launch Pad

Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle shown on the launch pad. Credit: Blue Origin photo

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — At least one other company is competing against Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to take over a decommissioned space shuttle launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. 

Privately owned Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., also responded to a NASA solicitation for proposals for Launch Pad 39A, company President Rob Meyerson told SpaceNews July 16.

“Blue Origin is considering various sites for our orbital launch operations, and submitted a proposal to NASA related to KSC Launch Complex 39A. We look forward to further discussions with NASA and Space Florida about the possibility of bringing our launch and vehicle assembly operations to the KSC area,” Meyerson wrote in an email.

Hand-held cam view of Blue Origin's New Shepard's short-hop flight test

Proposals were due July 5. NASA said it would not disclose how many companies responded to its solicitation while proposals were being reviewed. 

United Launch Alliance, ATK, Orbital Sciences and Space Florida all passed on the project.

Blue Origin, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is developing a reusable space vehicle called New Shepard. The company has an unfunded partnership agreement with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which is aimed at restoring a U.S. human space transportation system to the international space station. 

With the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011, Russia now operates the only system to fly people to the station, a service that costs NASA about $71 million per person.

 

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