A completed visor made from materials Blue Origin is 3D printing.
Jeff Bezos’ space venture Blue Origin has joined other rocket companies in volunteering its manufacturing expertise to help make products needed to fight the coronavirus crisis.
Blue Origin workers from its BE-4 rocket engine team are volunteering to make plastic pieces needed for face shields, the company said in a video released Tuesday. The rocket company has about 38 different types of plastics that it can 3D print in house, with printers working day and night to make the parts.
“It’s essentially a headband that the face shield component attaches to. There’s a huge shortage across the country,” a Blue Origin employee said in a video released Tuesday.
A visor being 3D printed by Blue Origin.
Several 3D printed headbands for medical face shields.
A Blue Origin employee in the video said that the company is following social distancing protocols during production, with only one worker in the manufacturing area at a time.
“All the people participating in this are volunteering,” the Blue Origin employee said.
Blue Origin joins fellow rocket builders Virgin Orbit and SpaceX in producing supplies and devices needed by hospitals to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Virgin Orbit came up with a simple ventilator device that it plans to mass produce, while SpaceX partnered with Medtronic to help the medical device company make a key part of its ventilators and is also producing hand sanitizer and face shields.
A Blue Origin employee works on 3D printed plastic headbands for medical face shields.
Blue Origin is also among other companies that are continuing work on rocket development and production despite the crisis. It’s one of many in the space industry deemed “mission essential” by the Department of Defense. A Pentagon letter allows companies working national security contracts to continue operations even if state governments enforce lockdowns or shelter-in-place orders.
Three Blue Origin employees have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks, CNBC confirmed on Monday.
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