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Blue Origin breaks ground on Huntsville facility

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - City and state officials joined Blue Origin Friday morning to break ground on a new rocket engine production facility in Cummings Research Park.

Having more rocket production in the Rocket City makes sense -- and Blue Origin agrees.

"It is a great day here in the Rocket City," Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said at the Friday morning ceremony.

The company will build the BE-4 engine, which will power the next generation of Vulcan rockets produced by United Launch Alliance in nearby Decatur.

State and city leaders all said the same thing: This is just another great example of how Alabama -- and Huntsville -- are pushing mankind closer to entering deep space.

The rocket technology they develop already touches our lives every day in the form of GPS, weather radar and protecting our military.

"Recruiting top companies like Blue Origin and fostering economic growth is absolutely a top priority," Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said.

Blue Origin is already bringing experience to the future workforce by teaching local high school students about orbital technology.

Students from Bob Jones, Sparkman and New Century Technology high schools are working on a project called DreamUp, where each class is creating a payload that will launch on a future Blue Origin mission.

"You learn more about the science, more about the math, so it definitely helps to go along with your education, but also your future career and such," said Sparkman High School student Elijah Luna. "You get a head start on college."

The company hopes to see the first Vulcan rocket launch in 2021.

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