Science & Technology

Construction is well under way for Blue Origin space venture’s expanded HQ

KENT, Wash. — Construction staff have raised the roof on a brand new headquarters and research-and-development facility for Blue Origin, the personal space enterprise based by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

For now, the roof protects a naked patch of concrete laid out on a 31-acre plot here in Kent, about 16 miles south of Seattle. However don’t be fooled by the spartan setting: Even on a Saturday, staff carrying hardhats have been making progress on what’s anticipated finally to turn into a 236,000-square-foot warehouse-style constructing and greater than 100,000 sq. toes of workplace space.

Blue Origin purchased the site, on the alternative aspect of the road from the corporate’s current 26-acre manufacturing facility and headquarters, from a longtime farming household in 2017 for $14.1 million. The corporate has additionally been utilizing a 120,000-square-foot warehouse simply up the road.

Bezos’ firm dropped a touch or two in regards to the building web site’s future position earlier this month in a tweet:

We’ve gone vertical with our new HQ and R&D facility in Kent, WA! We’re persevering with so as to add to our world-class crew and excited for a big new facility that can assist speedy development. Due to Mayor @dana_ralph and @cityofkent as well as everybody concerned with the development.

Blue Origin (@blueorigin) April 11, 2019

Blue Origin didn’t instantly reply to a request for additional particulars, reminiscent of the full value of the undertaking or the timetable for completion, however we’ll replace this report with something we hear again. For what it’s price, Kent constructing permits checklist Sierra Construction among the many lead contractors for Blue Origin’s “Mission Farmland,” though the work doesn’t present up amongst projects listed on Sierra’s website.

As famous on Twitter, Blue Origin is coping with speedy enlargement: As of final summer season, the corporate’s workforce was estimated at greater than 1,500, and Reuters quoted an unnamed supply as saying that number could double over the next couple of years. Almost 500 job openings are presently listed on Blue Origin’s careers website. And almost all of these jobs are primarily based in Kent.

Along with the Kent headquarters enlargement, Blue Origin is gearing up for manufacturing of its orbital-class New Glenn rocket at its 750,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Florida, with the primary liftoff from a close-by launch facility due as early as 2021. Simply final month, the corporate acknowledged that the Florida factory site is due for its own expansion over the next year.

Blue Origin has additionally damaged floor on a 200,000-square-foot rocket engine manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Ala. That manufacturing facility will end up BE-4 engines for the New Glenn as well as for United Launch Alliance’s next-generation, semi-reusable Vulcan rocket. This month, Blue Origin struck an additional deal with NASA to refurbish and use an engine check stand close by at Marshall Space Flight Middle.

Along with the New Glenn and BE-4 initiatives, Blue Origin is testing a suborbital spaceship called New Shepard in West Texas, with an eye fixed towards placing individuals on board beginning later this yr. There’s additionally a Blue Moon lunar lander project that’s anticipated to win extra of the highlight resulting from NASA’s accelerated schedule for missions to the moon.

The New Shepard spaceships and their hydrogen-fueled BE-3 rocket engines are being in-built Kent after which shipped right down to Texas for testing and launch. BE-4 engines can even be in-built Kent and test-fired in Texas, a minimum of till the Alabama manufacturing facility comes on-line.

Primarily based on all the pieces that Bezos and his space enterprise are aiming to get carried out within the subsequent couple of years, the Kent enlargement undertaking appears prone to proceed consistent with Blue Origin’s motto: “Gradatim Ferociter,” which is Latin for “step-by-step, ferociously.”

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