MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. — On Wednesday, "Star Trek" fans got to see their hero Captain Kirk actually blast into space. Actor William Shatner made science fiction a reality, reaching the final frontier when he hopped aboard a ship built by Jeff Bezo's Blue Origin company.
And while Shatner and three fellow passengers were hurtled over the West Texas desert, it's actually Florida where Blue Origin is having a substantial footprint.
The company's 650,000 square foot manufacturing complex is located on Florida's Space Coast near Cape Canaveral. According to Blue Origin, rocket stages, payload fairings and adapters are all being built and integrated right here in the sunshine state.
The manufacturing center is also home to the company's launch and mission control centers. That's where the New Glenn rocket is being developed. A reusable rocket capable of carrying people and payloads to Earth orbit for 25 missions, New Glenn will also launch from the same location.
However, all that science and manufacturing requires workers and that's also where Blue Origin is having an impact on Florida. The company offers all kinds of engineering and technical jobs and internships. As of Wednesday, there are 200 open positions here in Florida.
The future is looking bright for space travel with Virgin Galactic and SpaceX in the mix as well. And, it's safe to say Florida may benefit from all that competition.