...Other Efforts Emerge...

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Two companies not involved in the X Prize competition have recently ramped up their efforts to get into space. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has started building a testing facility in Texas for his Blue Origin company. Blue Origin has been doing design work in Seattle for several years on its relaunchable liquid-fueled spacecraft, which it hopes to launch in seven years. The Texas facility will include an engine test stand, fuel and water tanks and offices, according to Geek.com. The company is also hiring, according to its own Web site. Another dot-com mogul, John Carmack, of id Software, has created Armadillo Aerospace. The small but apparently determined Armadillo crew has already tried test firing an engine component, although it wasn't terribly successful. Armadillo posts semi-regular progress reports (warts and all) on its Web site that should be interesting to the technically minded. We'll wait for the launch...