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

    by VLM (445) 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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