Blue Origin continues to bolster its partnership with the state of Alabama and its thriving aerospace industry.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center announced that it had received a $1 million grant from the company’s foundation, Club for the Future.
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is one of Alabama’s prominent landmarks as well as the official visitor center for NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and a showcase for national defense technologies developed at the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal. The center has historically had a significant economic impact across the Tennessee Valley.
Since breaking ground on a new rocket factory in Huntsville nearly three years ago, Blue Origin has developed its own impact on the area.
In June, the company conducted a public auction to gain a seat on a trip to space with Blue Origin founder, Jeff Bezos, and his brother, Mark.
More than 7,500 people from 159 countries bid on the opportunity, and the event resulted in the grant to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, according to Bob Smith, Blue Origin CEO.
“Our recent auction for the first seat on New Shepard resulted in a donation of $28 million to our non-profit foundation, Club for the Future,” said Smith in a release from the organization. “This donation is enabling Club for the Future to rapidly expand its reach by partnering with 19 organizations to develop and inspire the next generation of space professionals. Our generation will build the road to space and these efforts will ensure the next generation is ready to go even further.”
Blue Origin is currently operating a full-rate engine manufacturing facility in the Rocket City, building BE-3U and BE-4 engines.
The BE-4 will be used to power United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Decatur-built Vulcan Centaur rockets. ULA’s selection of the BE-4 for this next-generation launch vehicle drew Blue Origin to Huntsville in the first place.
Blue Origin has refurbished the historic test stands at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and has conducted extensive testing of its engines there.
Dr. Kimberly Robinson, executive director and CEO of the Rocket Center, thanked the company in a statement.
“We are extremely grateful for this donation that will help us move forward on the critical work we do in inspiring the next generation STEM workforce,” said “As a leader in the new era of space exploration, Blue Origin is breaking boundaries for space flight. We are honored to partner with them by actively participating in the Club for the Future’s Postcards to Space program and look forward to further collaborations as Blue expands its role in our community and on our campus. We will also be cheering as Space Camp Hall of Fame member Wally Funk embarks aboard New Shepard’s first human flight along with Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos next week.”
In January, the company highlighted its involvement with the center, home to Space Camp, with a video tour.
One of our Huntsville neighbors is @SpaceCampUSA. Caitlin, @ClubforFuture’s field reporter, takes us on a tour to learn more about inspiring the next generation of space explorers. pic.twitter.com/Kjrtz2bGSD
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) January 14, 2021
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia