Blue Origin plans to expand rocket launch operations to 'Europe and beyond'

Jeff Bezos' private space company could eventually launch rockets from a new facility outside the US.
Chris Young
Blue Origin's New Shepard during the NS-22 mission.
Blue Origin's New Shepard during the NS-22 mission.

Blue Origin 

Jeff Bezos' private space company, Blue Origin, recently announced plans to expand operations to "Europe and beyond," according to a report from the Financial Times.

The company is looking for a site for an international launch facility while also seeking out new acquisitions and partnerships outside of the US in areas including software and manufacturing.

Currently, Blue Origin's suborbital New Shepard rocket is grounded, having suffered an anomaly that forced its capsule to eject during a science mission last year.

Blue Origin aims for global expansion

Blue Origin is looking to expand, having recently been awarded a lunar lander contract for NASA's upcoming Artemis missions.

Recent acquisitions for a big part of the success of Blue Origin. The private space firm bought New York-based Honeybee Robotics last year and that company was part of the team that designed Blue Origin's most recent lunar lander concept. Now, it is looking for more of the same.

"We're looking for anything we can do to acquire, to scale up to better serve our customers," Bob Smith, Blue Origin CEO, explained. "It's not a function of size — rather how much it accelerates our road map of what we're trying to get done."

New Shepard could fly again in a "few weeks"

Blue Origin famously tried, and failed, to sue NASA for not awarding it a lunar lander contract in 2021.

Relations between the space company and the US space agency are more amicable now, and NASA's strategy of working with more than one company for a lunar lander was arguably justified when it recently stated delays to SpaceX's Starship could hamper its efforts to get humans back to the lunar surface by around 2025.

Still, Blue Origin is far behind SpaceX when it comes to operating rockets in space. Jeff Bezos' company has yet to fly a rocket to orbit, though it is hoping to launch its orbital New Glenn rocket for the first time next year.

New Glenn is part of what Jeff Bezos' other company, Amazon, calls "the largest commercial procurement of launch vehicles in history." The rocket was contracted for at least 12 of 83 launches of Amazon's Starlink rival internet satellite service, Project Kuiper, scheduled between 2024 and 2029.

Blue Origin's suborbital New Shepard rocket, meanwhile, is currently grounded. During the NS-23 mission last year, mission, an anomaly caused New Shepard to trigger its capsule escape system and jettison the scientific payloads a safe distance away from the rocket booster, which was destroyed.