Just a month after leaving Amazon, Bezos flew into space onboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
It’s a sign that, having left Amazon, Bezos is dedicating more time to Blue Origin, the space company he founded in 2000. The company’s aim is to transform space travel.
In a letter to Amazon employees in February, Bezos said that as Amazon’s executive chairman he would “stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus” on projects such as Blue Origin, the Washington Post, his Day 1 Fund, and the Bezos Earth Fund.
Bezos will therefore be more involved in Blue Origin going forward. The company wants to continue to build more rockets and engines to launch people, and other payloads, beyond Earth’s orbit, and to ultimately colonize the solar system.
“We’re committed to building a road to space so our children can build the future,” the company says on its website.
What is Blue Origin?
Blue Origin is an American aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight company headquartered in Kent, Washington. It’s owned by Bezos and is currently headed by CEO Bob Smith.
Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, and says it’s his ‘most important work’
Bezos, the world’s second-richest person, founded Blue Origin in September 2000, with the goal of making space travel cheap, frequent, and more accessible, through reusable launch systems.
Bezos said in a 2018 interview with Axel Springer that the spaceflight company was his “most important work,” — more important than Amazon.
“I’m pursuing this work because I believe if we don’t, we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis, which I find very demoralizing,” he said.
The billionaire’s passion for his space-travel company stems from his childhood. Insider’s Dave Mosher reported in 2018 that Bezos spent his childhood summers on his grandparents’ large ranch in South Texas learning about machinery. He also went to the local library to read science fiction novels about space exploration.
Blue Origin’s motto is “Gradatim Ferociter,” Latin for “step by step, ferociously.”
Bezos often uses the hashtag in his Instagram posts about the firm.
What Blue Origin will do next
In July’s flight, Bezos flew to the edge of space with three crewmates: his brother Mark; 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk; and 18-year-old Oliver Daeman from the Netherlands. The 11-minute flight was Blue Origin’s first crewed mission, and it traveled 62 miles above the Earth’s surface.
Blue Origin has a host of projects in the pipeline for Bezos to get stuck into.
NASA greenlighted Blue Origin in December for future Earth observation missions, planetary expeditions, and satellite launches with its New Glenn rocket, taking the space company one step closer to the stars.
In May, Blue Origin was awarded $1 billion from NASA to produce initial designs for a human-landing system for the Artemis 3 mission, which aims to land humans on the moon in 2024.
Blue Origin is competing against Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Alabama-based Dynetics to land NASA astronauts on the moon in 2024. Bezos said in an Instagram post in December the company could possibly take the first woman there, too.