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The competition heats up: Local county officials in Florida have awarded Blue Origins $8 million in grants to encourage it to set up launch operations in Florida.
The money comes from property tax revenue from new commercial and industrial construction in North Brevard, under a process the Brevard County Commission created in 2011 to help spur economic development in North Brevard. Blue Origin plans to build rockets on the Space Coast, and launch them from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The company, founded by Jeff Bezos, the billionaire chief executive officer of Amazon.com, would create 330 jobs with an average wage of $89,000, and plans to make a capital investment of $205 million to $220 million.
The company is being referred to as “Project Panther” in county documents, because Blue Origin has not officially disclosed its plans. Bezos is scheduled to be in Brevard County on Sept. 15 for a major announcement on the commercial space industry.
This news helps indicate what Bezos’s September 15 announcement will be about. They are likely to announce that the company is completed its arrangements for building its spaceport in Florida, and is now going to proceed. Up until now the company, which keeps its plans very close to its vest, has been vague about its future launch plans, especially after it lost its competition with SpaceX for leasing a launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center.