BLUE ORIGIN LAUNCH: Van Horn businesses, locals talk influx of rocket watchers

Local News

VAN HORN, Texas (Nexstar) – The space race is taking its hold on West Texas.

As the countdown continues to the launch of Blue Origin’s first-ever human flight near Van Horn, it’s not just the crew mates aboard the flight who are excited, but businesses and locals alike.

“It’s a lot of commotion. Everybody is excited.”

“It’s a little crazy, but it’s good for the town.”

“A good day to be here because everybody is running to this place.”

“It’s been pretty busy for our little town. We’ve had a lot more people.”

There is a good amount of excitement for a town that boasts a population of a few thousand. The scheduled launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight Tuesday is certainly adding to the town’s history.

“We’re seeing new faces since Blue Origin has been here. So it’s good for our little town. It’s good for our little businesses,” said Jessica Bermudez of Van Horn. “I just pray that everybody goes up there safely and comes back down safely.”

The flight is happening at Blue Origin’s private launch site off Route 54 miles away from the town in the desert.

Blue Origin is the company of Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos. The launch marks a new chapter of space tourism. It’s also been called, the “billionaire’s space race.”

“Billionaires and private companies are flying to space. You know, it’s like they’re putting their money into science,” said Heber Alderd of El Paso.

For the folks in Van Horn, it’s the tourism on the ground that’s been so important.

“To me, it’s good,” said David Santana of Van Horn. “I want my business to grow more. Especially with the past year, everything has been real slow. But this should pick us up.”

David Santana is co-owner of Lindsey’s Café. His customers aren’t just truckers and people passing through anymore. They include workers from Blue Origin, news crews, and people looking to see the New Shepard flight. The launch has even stoked David’s curiosity.

“Having civilians go up there, I mean, I hope I had the money to go up there,” Santana joked. “But maybe give me a chance one day.”

Maricela Garcia is a vendor selling food in Van Horn. She says it’s good to see the steady stream of people coming into town. When she got word that people were coming for the launch, she knew she had to set up shop. Maricela says she has seen the test flights before, so she knows Tuesday’s launch is going to be a big show.

“Usually, we see just a white line going up to the sky,” Garcia said. “It’s amazing. You can feel the vibrations sometimes.”

It’s not just the tourism that’s a boost for the city. Some say it’s also the experience of living near Blue Origin’s facility.

“I can feel the ground shaking when they launch off,” said Steve Jackson. “They came in, they provided work for people. It’s just a great enterprise {Blue Origin is} engaged in.”

Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight is set to take off Tuesday (7/20) morning at 8 Central Time. The launch is weather-permitting.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss