Blue Origin officially opens $200 million Alabama rocket engine factory

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HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Blue Origin  on Monday opened a sprawling factory in Alabama’s “Rocket City” that will allow the spaceflight company to accelerate production of its heavy-lift BE-4 rocket engine and create hundreds of jobs.

The BE-4, which is under development, will power Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket as well as the United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan rocket, which is being produced at ULA’s factory in nearby Decatur.

Blue Origin will test its Alabama-made engines at Marshall Space Flight Center’s historic test stand 4670, where the Saturn V moon rocket’s engines were tested. The company founded by businessman Jeff Bezos is upgrading and refurbishing the test stand.

“This community is absolutely terrific to be a part of,” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said during a grand opening ceremony at the facility Monday. “It has the kind of spirit that you want when developing this kind of technology and actually has the history that you can be feel proud about.”