Bezos to make 'significant announcement' at Cape Canaveral on Sept. 15

Several publications on Tuesday reported that Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos would make “a significant announcement regarding the commercial launch industry” on Sept. 15 at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

According to USA Today, Florida Today, Popular Mechanics, GeekWire and others, Mr. Bezos has been in negotiations with Space Florida and other agencies that would result in construction of a manufacturing facility in Exploration Park just south of Kennedy Space Center’s secure area on Merritt Island, and eventual launches of orbital human spaceflight missions from Launch Complex 36.

The board for Space Florida gave its approval last week for the Florida economic development agency to complete the terms of an agreement, which are some are calling “Project Panther.”

Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello said he thought the deal would be made public within a month or so, according to various news reports.

Earlier this year, Blue Origin completed a successful unmanned test flight of its suborbital New Shepard vehicle, launched from the company’s private West Texas launch site near Van Horn.

Blue Origin originally wanted to launch its orbital rockets within five years  from the proposed Shiloh launch site at the northern border of NASA-owned land shared with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Rockets would have been built in the nearby town of Oak Hill in Volusia County, according to USA Today.

Exploration Park and Launch Complex then became an alternative over alternatives other states such as Georgia or North Carolina, which also would have required “lengthy environmental study and have no existing infrastructure or space work force,” said USA Today.