Jeff Bezos pops champagne after coming out of the New Shepard capsule after a spaceflight on July 20, 2021.
Jeff Bezos has called Blue Origin the most important work of his life – and the hours he’s devoting to the space company are growing by leaps and bounds.
Or historically, Bezos devoted himself to updates and discussions at Blue Origin on Wednesday afternoon, people familiar with the situation told CNBC – meetings that were in person before the Kovid epidemic and have been on the phone ever since. However, he also added Tuesday afternoon in the last month, those people said.
Although Bezos’ increased involvement with the company has been previously reported, it is not known how much he is involved with Blue Origin. With one of the richest people in the world and still involved with Amazon as the company’s executive chairman, Bezos’s time demand is high, so spending twice as much time with his space company represents a significant additional commitment.
Blue Origin and Bezos did not respond to a request for comment from CNBC.
At a crucial moment in Blue Origin’s history, his two-pronged effort comes to a halt: the company is embroiled in a fierce court battle against NASA’s award of a multi-billion dollar lunar lander contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the main customer of its BE-4 rocket engine. Becoming a growing voice after years of delays, Blue Origin’s first orbital rocket is similarly behind schedule, and its subcontinental space research and tourism business is now in full swing.
Blue Origin’s technology development is also facing new hurdles in leaving the top talent, as CNBC reported in August. Disagreements with Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith’s decision were the most common reason senior leaders and engineers left, acquaintances told CNBC. Smith is a former Honeywell executive who hired Bezos in 2017 to run the company.
The time added to Blue Origin partly represents a new focus for Bezos. For example, one person told CNBC that he held annual, company-wide Q&A sessions with employees কিন্তু but did not do so in 2020 and has not done so yet this year.
It is unclear whether Bezos is investing more in Blue Origin. In 2017, he said he was selling অ 1 billion a year from his Amazon stock to develop Blue Origin, but recently Bezos increased sales of those shares without indicating whether all of these funds would go to the space company.
Rendering of Atlas V Rocket, a United Launch Alliance carrying Amazon satellites.
ULA / Amazon
Bezos, who stepped down as CEO of Amazon in July, is also focusing on how the two companies he founded can communicate. The senior leadership of Blue Origin has held regular meetings to win a deal to launch Amazon’s Project Kuiper Internet satellite, people familiar with the matter told CNBC. But, after the United Launch Alliance বো Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s rocket-building joint venture-won the first Amazon launch deal earlier this year, Bezos has begun sitting at Blue Origin’s Kuiper meeting, those people said.
When Amazon announced nine launch deals with the ULA in April, it stressed that launching 3,235 Kuiper satellites would require multiple launch partners. This keeps the door open for Blue Origin to open the next door – this time, perhaps, with the help of someone who knows Amazon better than anyone else on the planet.
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