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posted by martyb on Thursday June 29 2017, @02:48AM   Printer-friendly
from the job-growth-in-3...2...1... dept.

Today, private spaceflight venture Blue Origin announced its plans to manufacture the company's new rocket engine, the BE-4, at a state-of-the-art facility in Huntsville, Alabama. It's an interesting move for the company, which has been mostly developing the engine at its headquarters in Kent, Washington, and testing the hardware in Texas. But the benefits for Blue Origin are both practical and political.

On the surface, it's a seemingly innocuous decision meant to capitalize on Huntsville's decades-long history of rocket development. The city is home to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, where the Saturn V rocket was developed and where NASA's future massive deep-space rocket, the Space Launch System, will also be worked on. Plus, many private space contractors are based in Huntsville, making spaceflight a key part of the city's economy and a huge jobs creator. It's why Huntsville has been nicknamed Rocket City.

"Alabama is a great state for aerospace manufacturing and we are proud to produce America's next rocket engine right here in Rocket City," Robert Meyerson, president of Blue Origin, said in a statement.

[...] Of course, Blue Origin probably also had some nice economic incentives to move to the state that factored into the decision. And the company will definitely have a good support system there. Blue Origin's move to Huntsville is supposed to generate 342 jobs at the new facility, located in Cummings Research Park, with salaries averaging $75,000. And given the city's history, Blue Origin should have no problem finding aerospace experts in the area. Phil Larson, a former science advisor to the Obama administration and a former SpaceX spokesperson, pointed out that SpaceX, in part, moved to Los Angeles because it had the largest concentration of aerospace engineers in the country at the time. "Alabama has that same sort of strong technical work force," he tells The Verge.

Source: The Verge


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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Nerdfest on Thursday June 29 2017, @04:05AM (6 children)

    by Nerdfest (80) on Thursday June 29 2017, @04:05AM (#532806)

    It's not really surprising. Alabama has long been popular with the science crowd. They even mention it in the theme song for the "Big Bang Theory":

    Our whole universe was in a hot dense state

    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday June 29 2017, @04:44AM (4 children)

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 29 2017, @04:44AM (#532815) Journal

      More to the point, everyone's already so inbred and mutated that a leak of some of those horrible rocket fuels won't make much of a difference.

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29 2017, @06:44AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29 2017, @06:44AM (#532847)

        Hey - I have a lot of kinfolk in Alabama! All farmers. God fearing folks.

        A lot of 'em are way too superstitious though, and often mis-led by folks with a suit and microphone. If it isn't beggaring preacher-men, its snake oil salesmen. One followed by the other. Constantly.

        Get on the good side of them, and they will take care of you, get on their bad side and they will run you out of town.

        A BMW doesn't mean a thing to them, however you better know your red tractors from the green ones.

        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29 2017, @11:25AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29 2017, @11:25AM (#532906)

          A BMW doesn't mean a thing to them, however you better know your red tractors from the green ones.

          The Matrix would have been very different if it had been based in Alamaba. Just swap "Red Tractor" for "Red Pill" and "Green Tractor" for "Blue Pill".

          • (Score: 2) by KGIII on Thursday June 29 2017, @10:29PM

            by KGIII (5261) on Thursday June 29 2017, @10:29PM (#533135) Journal

            I took the road less traveled by. I have an L6060. It is orange.

            --
            "So long and thanks for all the fish."
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29 2017, @10:56AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29 2017, @10:56AM (#532901)

        [singing]

        I hope Azuma Hazuki will remember
        a southern man don't need him around anyhow.
        Sweet home Alabama...

    • (Score: 1) by mayo2y on Thursday June 29 2017, @01:12PM

      by mayo2y (6520) on Thursday June 29 2017, @01:12PM (#532937)

      There are a lot of Russian and Eastern European science and computer engineering students there. Many stay after their schooling is complete. It's not your northern fantasy of a barbaric, redneck, hick state.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday June 29 2017, @11:27AM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 29 2017, @11:27AM (#532907)

    I lived in Huntsville in the 90s for a summer courtesy of uncle sam, and its a pretty nice place. It has a Roman Empire feel of PHDs and engineers and "civilization" in general surrounded by barbarians. I was attending a couple on base classes. The weird thing about Hunstville was no one on base was from Huntsville.

    As for the locals you'd meet off base at the mall, the odds were not 75:25 that they've got a PHD like on base. The male locals are ridiculously nice people and the young female locals were ridiculously hot. They serve grits at breakfast which are a kind of natural less artifically flavored malto-meal and they're pretty good. They don't seem to have a unique food culture (like New Orleans, or KC-style BBQ, or Wisconsin cheeses and beers) unless you count sweetened iced tea with so much dissolved sucrose it resembles straight corn syrup.

    This is long before 9/11 so base security was layered in depth. Most of the base, such as the on base Burger King or the PX was essentially unguarded although there were areas I was at, inside the base, surrounded by barbed wire with 24x7 guards. For example they had a shuttle bus going from barracks and on base destinations right to off base destinations like the mall, and you could take a date home with you for example. Now with eternal war until empire collapse, I would imagine the base gates are actually armed, etc.

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