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Blue Origin Eyes UAE as Possible Launch Site

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
October 31, 2021
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Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, which carried payloads supported by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, lands on the pad in West Texas on Aug. 26, 2021. NASA’s Orbital Syngas Commodity Augmentation Reactor (OSCAR), which tests technology to convert trash and human waste generated during spaceflight into useful gases, was a part of the 17th New Shepard mission. (Credits: Blue Origin)

The National reports that Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is eyeing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for launches of its New Shepard suborbital crew system.

In an exclusive interview with The National, Brent Sherwood, senior vice president of advanced development programmes for Blue Origin, said the UAE was an “obvious choice” for a spaceport and that it was looking to expand its launch sites from the current one in El Paso, Texas.

“Now that we are operational for tourism, the next thing we are looking at is other locations around the planet to establish launch and landing sites for New Shepard,” he said.

“It’s an obvious place to look here. All we really need is some desert. One of the endearing qualities of the West Texas desert is that it is hard to get to the El Paso airport. You have to drive for a couple of hours and it is in the middle of nowhere.

“A couple of nights ago I slept over in Sharjah and did some stargazing in the desert. It was only 30 minutes away from Dubai, so I think it’s very promising to think about areas here.”

Virgin Galactic is also eyeing the UAE for flights of its suborbital SpaceShipTwo crew vehicle. The government of Abu Dhabi invested $390 million into Richard Branson’s space company.

14 responses to “Blue Origin Eyes UAE as Possible Launch Site”

    • Andrew Tubbiolo says:

      That’s no idle consideration. This platform operating from the UAE is going to give some first rate wide area photographic capability over the Persian Gulf, the Straits of Hormuz, and deep into Iran. This sort of thing is just why ITAR got slapped onto spaceflight.

    • Emmet Ford says:

      Well, yeah, except the US is currently jump-staring their space program using US universities as the middleman. I think the State Department has spoken.

      • ThomasLMatula says:

        Not necessary as it is easy for those university programs to go under the radar since many administrators are not aware they are subject to ITAR, and then get caught later for violations.

  1. duheagle says:

    To paraphrase Alec Guiness’s Prince Faisal from Lawrence of Arabia, “Your Bezos has a great hunger for desolate places.”

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