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Despite having successfully accomplished multiple crewed suborbital flights with its reusable New Shepard rocket, Blue Origin launches occur with seemingly less fanfare than those of its peers in the newly privatized space industry, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic. Much of this has to do with the lowkey nature of its nondescript launch site.

New Shepard missions are launched from Blue Origin’s remote facility in West Texas known as Launch Site One. With no public viewing area in the vicinity, New Shepard flights are best seen on live feeds. The company’s New Glenn rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, however, are sure to be a spectacle.

For much of its history, Blue Origin has kept its plans tightly under wraps. But with its recent successes and lofty ambitions involving orbital space travel (and far beyond), much of the company’s activities will be placed under a spotlight, starting with its rocket launches. Where are the Blue Origin launch sites? The answers are below, so read on.

Where are the Blue Origin Launch Sites

In the mid-2000s, Amazon founder and then-CEO Jeff Bezos began purchasing large tracts of land in West Texas. To the average eye, the area in question was nothing more than run-of-the-mill undeveloped land in a sparsely populated part of Texas, but the corporate names under which the land purchases were made revealed a not-so-hidden motive as they were all named after famous explorers, including:

  • James Cook, L.P.
  • Jolliet Holdings
  • Coronado Ventures
  • Cabot Enterprises

Over the years that followed, these thousands of acres located near the small town of Van Horn were developed into what is now Blue Origin’s privately funded and owned base of operations where its New Shepard rocket technologies have been tested, launched, and landed.

Texas Launch Site – Blue Origin’s New Shepard Rocket Program

The small town of Van Horn has a full-time population of around 2,500 people and lies about 25 miles south of the 150,000 acres purchased by Bezos to build what has come to be known as Corn Ranch Spaceport, home to Blue Origin’s testing grounds for its rockets and location of Launch Site One, the departure point for its New Shepard missions.

Improbable though it may seem, this area in Culberson County, Texas that prior to the arrival of Blue Origin may have been best known for being a staging ground for trips into the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, is poised to become a major aerospace center, and if Blue Origin’s ambitions come to fruition, an international space tourism hub.

But for the time being, the area around Launch Site One is so remote and inaccessible that the nearest vantage point for launches is roughly 20 miles away in Van Horn. And with only a handful of chain hotels in town, the chances of scoring accommodations to witness a New Shepard launch (or booster rocket landing) are remote at best.

Florida Launch Site – Blue Origin’s New Glenn Rocket Program

The next chapter in Blue Origin’s ambitious story is achieving orbital space travel and the vehicle which will be tasked with carrying the company’s aspirations to those new heights is the New Glenn. Designed to be a fully reusable two-stage heavy-lift rocket, the New Glenn is an impressive spacecraft by any measure. For instance:

  • New Glenn’s rocket booster is being touted as having a minimum 25-mission service life
  • Its 23-foot tall (7 meters) cargo fairings can transport over 99,000 pounds (45 metric tons) of cargo to low earth orbit and in excess of 30,000 pounds (14 metric tons) to geostationary transfer orbit
  • New Glenn will stand over 300 feet (90+ meters) tall on its launchpad

To support its New Glenn program, Blue Origin is establishing a permanent base of operations in Florida. Launching from the region affectionately known as the Space Coast (located between Jacksonville and Miami) is necessitated by the fact that New Glenn is designed to fly orbital missions (and beyond). There are two strategic advantages to having rocket launching capabilities in the Sunshine State:

  • Rockets taking off from the east coast and flying in an easterly direction get a natural boost from the earth’s west to east rotational spin
  • That same rotational spin is fastest at the earth’s equator and Florida is one of the southernmost regions of the U.S.

New Glenn launches will take off from Launch Complex 36 (LC-36) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This facility is being completely refurbished to house Blue Origin’s payload integration center as well as the reconditioning operations for used New Glenn first-stage rocket boosters. It was formerly the site of over a hundred Atlas II and III rocket launches.

Nine miles from LC-36, construction has been completed on a sprawling campus where Blue Origin will base its mission control and launch teams for New Glenn missions. In addition, this 650,000 square-foot (180,000 square meters) will serve as the primary production and assembly center for New Glenn rocket stages, cargo fairings, and stage adapters.


Blue Origin has transformed a quiet area in West Texas into a major hub for space tourism and is following in the footsteps of a long line of historic space programs by establishing a major presence in Florida. And like a New Shepard rocket streaking toward the Kármán Line, Blue Origin’s prospects for being a major player in space travel and exploration are headed on an upward trajectory.