Blue Origin is Alabamy-bound.
Blue Origin largely deferred the announcement of the news to local and state officials, who tweeted several exclamatory messages trumpeting the move — which industry-watchers chalked up to Huntsville’s reputation as a rocket-making hub and the region’s political stature. The latter consideration is important in congressional funding matters and the awarding of NASA contract.
“Great news for Alabama!” tweeted Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican whose committee assignments include an active role on the Senate Appropriations Committee. “@BlueOrigin has announced its selection of #Huntsville for new BE4 rocket engine manufacturing facility. #RocketCity”
Gov. Kay Ivey posted that “it’s an honor to announce that Blue Origin has chosen Alabama to build its BE-4 rocket engines!” Ivey added that the move represents “a $200 million investment and 350 new jobs!”
The city of Huntsville tweeted that “Mayor (Tommy) Battle welcomes Blue Origin!”
Blue Origin is deep into development and testing of the BE-4 engine, which is expected to be chosen as the engine for the next-gen Vulcan rocket under development by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is pushing its AR-1 as a backup Vulcan power system and will manufacture the engine in Huntsville.