Headlines > News > Blue Origin picks Culberson County for space site

Blue Origin picks Culberson County for space site

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Thu Jan 13, 2005 10:14 pm
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By Larry D. Simpson – Van Horn, Texas : Blue Origin, a Seattle-based business venture, today announced it plans to build and operate a privately funded aerospace testing and operations center on the Corn Ranch, north of Van Horn.

The site, on a small portion of the ranch north of Van Horn, may be used for a variety of activities, including engine and vehicle testing, and possibly flight operations in the future. Early facilities would include an engine test stand, tank storage for fuel and water, and a general-purpose building. Flight operations could begin in as soon as six or seven years.

“Texas has been a long-standing leader in the aerospace industry and we are very excited about the possibility of locating here,” said Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin’s founder.
Bezos is also founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com., and a property owner in Culberson and Hudspeth Counties. “Blue Origin’s facilities could help make West Texas a center for private, space-related activities.”

Blue Origin is developing vehicles and technologies that will help enable an enduring human presence in space. Blue Origin is currently developing a sub-orbital space vehicle that will take off and land vertically to take three or more astronauts to the edge of space.

Under the leadership of founder, Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin has put together a team of highly qualified, experienced individuals who have played key roles in a variety of vehicle development programs, such as DC-X, Sea Launch, Kistler K-1, Beal Aerospace, Space Shuttle, Iridium and National Missile Defense.

Program manager for Blue Origin is Rob Meyerson. Launch manager for Blue Origin is Ed Rutkowski.
Meyerson has assembled a team of dedicated individuals, over the past two years, who have a passion for space and the possibilities that space travel offers.

Bezos and Meyerson were in the Van Horn Advocate office on Monday to make this announcement. While it was obvious from their expression that this project is complex, time consuming and challenging, they made it clear that the project is going to move ahead very deliberately while being well planned and carefully thought out.

Bezos was careful to further state that “this is a privately funded, non-governmental enterprise.” Blue Origin has already contacted “the Federal Aviation Administration, who is the regulatory agency for these type projects. And, NASA has been most helpful, as we have been the recipient of their years of experience.”

The Van Horn Advocate contacted Texas Governor Rick Perry about this announcement, and he said “Blue Origin’s decision to locate a private aerospace testing and operations center in Van Horn holds great promise for our state’s expansion in the field of commercialized space fight.

The continued development of spaceports is important to the statewide strategic plan to grow and promote aerospace industry clusters in Texas.”
Why Van Horn and Culberson County? Bezos told the Advocate that as a youngster he spent his summers on his grandfather’s ranch in South Texas.

He learned much from his experiences, among them self reliance and perseverance. Bezos said, “I hope to give my family the same experiences on my West Texas ranch now.”

The ramifications for Van Horn and Culberson County could be promising. Bezos, however, was cautious to note “that it may take several years for this project to get in high gear and have a significant economic impact on the area.”
For additional information, visit www.blueorigin.com.

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