Did Jeff Bezos Step Down at Amazon to Focus on a Space Empire?
"Blue Origin is the most important work I'm doing."
After stepping down as CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos is ready to shift his focus on something else.
According to industry sources, Bezos is likely to double down on his spacefaring efforts, Reuters reports.
He’s already said to be clocking in more hours at his space startup Blue Origin, which has historically been a passion project for the business titan. But that could be starting to change. In a new book published late last year, Bezos wrote that “Blue Origin is the most important work I’m doing.”
“I have great conviction about it, based on a simple argument: Earth is the best planet,” he wrote.
Bezos isn’t the only tycoon trying to get off this planet. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently took over from Bezos as the richest man in the world — a changing tide that highlights SpaceX’s growing head start in the industry.
While SpaceX has made a growing number of trips — crewed and uncrewed — to orbit and the International Space Station, Bezos’ space company has yet to visit the space station, let alone deliver cargo or passengers into space.
Then there’s the matter of Blue Origin’s contracts with NASA. In April of last year, the agency selected Blue Origin, as well as Dynetics and SpaceX, to develop human landers as part of its upcoming Artemis missions to the Moon.
Four months later, Blue Origin proudly delivered a full-scale prototype of its Blue Moon lander to the NASA Johnson Space Center. But the lander, which still has velcroed pieces of foam acting as placeholders for scientific instruments and navigation dials, still has a long way to go.
SpaceX is also directly competing with Blue Origin on the lander contract, promising a Starship variant that will eventually have lunar landing capabilities.
To go orbital, Blue Origin is betting on its New Glenn two stage orbital launch vehicle, a massive rocket that’s scheduled to launch some time this year. The reusable rocket represents a major leap forward for the space company, but it’s still uncertain when it will actually take flight for the first time.
It will be a monumental task for Blue Origin to kick into high gear and achieve reliable and reusable flights to orbit. And with Bezos having more time to dedicate to the company’s endeavors, it might just have a shot.
But it will inevitably be a game of catch up. SpaceX is making major moves towards developing a reusable heavy lift vehicle that may one day carry the first astronauts to the lunar surface since the 1970s.
Even Blue Origin’s planned Project Kuiper constellation of broadband-beaming satellites will butt up against SpaceX’s own Starlink efforts, as evidenced in a recent spat between the two companies.
We’ll have to wait and see if Bezos’ renewed commitment will be enough to make Blue Origin a worthwhile competitor.
READ MORE: An unleashed Jeff Bezos looks to shift space venture Blue Origin into hyperdrive [Reuters]
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