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Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield pointed out that the project took seven years to come to fruition and required numerous partners working to make it happen.

He expects those relationships to endure.

“Partnership continues to be important,” said Canfield. “The partnership between the state of Alabama, Madison County, Huntsville and this great region.”

The engines built by Blue Origin will be used on rockets built by United Launch Alliance at its manufacturing facility in nearby Decatur.

Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith credited a highly-skilled workforce in Huntsville and the business climate in Alabama with enabling his company to play a critical role in the nation’s space program.

“It is a great day for Alabama,” Smith said. “It’s a great day for Huntsville. It’s a great day for our partner United Launch Alliance. And obviously its a great day for Blue Origin.”

Smith noted the partnerships Blue Origin has formed allow it to deliver state-of-the-art rocket engines that help meet commercial and national defense needs.

“Blue Origin is all-in on Alabama,” he concluded.

United Launch Alliance  (ULA) CEO Tory Bruno welcomed Blue Origin to Alabama as it joined 200 other ULA suppliers located within the state.

Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine will power ULA’s cutting edge Vulcan Centaur rocket for the delivery of national security satellites.

“The Vulcan rocket is specifically and uniquely designed for national security space missions,” said Bruno.

Bruno emphasized the importance of those missions.

“Space is the ultimate high ground in national defense and no longer uncontested,” he said.

Bruno conveyed his appreciation to Ivey and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), among others, and attributed their support of the aerospace industry to its advances in the state.

“It is no coincidence that we build these rockets here in Alabama because the people of Alabama have provided us with wonderful leadership in this state that is as passionate about rockets as we are,” he said.

Ivey enthusiastically touted the more than 300 jobs that will be created by Blue Origin and the $200 million investment it is making in the facility opening in March 2020.

She also conveyed the far-reaching impact of the project.

“Engines that will be built in this facility will be game changers not just for Blue Origin and the state of Alabama but these will be game changers for companies around the globe and certainly throughout our nation,” said Ivey. “We built the rocket that took man to the moon and returned him safely. And now it’s going to be Alabama that takes men and women into deep space and returns them safely. The United States will no longer be dependent on other countries. Now we will be leading space exploration and it will start right here in Sweet Home Alabama.”

With more than 16,000 new jobs created during her administration, according to Ivey, the state is sending a message as to its potential.

“We show companies that if they want to be made in Alabama, they can expect excellence,” she said.

For Ivey, the partnerships and the resulting collaboration are fundamental to Alabama’s economic success.

“Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance, they represent what we are all about in Alabama: growing opportunities for our people, being innovative and finding success when we work together,” said Ivey.

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.

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