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Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos is backing ‘Blue Origin’ a company which intends to enter the commercial rocket business. Bezos says he will visit Florida in September to make a “significant announcement” in regard to the company’s plans to build rockets in Florida and then launch them from Cape Canaveral.
The Bezos scheme, code-named Project Panther, includes building sub-orbital rockets for human flights. Blue Origin successfully carried out an unmanned test-flight earlier this year.
Blue Origin has a number of projects in hand. One is to develop a vertical take-off and landing rocket-powered craft (“New Shephard”) and take two or three passengers to the edge of space. Another is to embrace orbital spaceflight. A third is to develop a new high-power rocket engine (“Blue Engine”) for the USA’s United Launch Alliance, and to be used as the first stage engine for Atlas rockets.
Currently Blue Origin operates out of Seattle. Bezos is reported to have funded the operation to the tune of $500 million, and Blue Origin employs some 350 staff.