Several reporters were invited this week to the headquarters of Blue Origin, the rocket-making startup owned by certified billionaire and Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos. And unlike in the past, where he tended to be cagey about the topic, he gamely answered questions fielded by the reporters, offering some interesting opinions on Blue Origin, and eloquently covering a variety of topics related to his company.
Talking about space exploration, Bezos said that there are two reasons why he wants to do so – to “use the resources in space to protect the Earth,” and to go on a “glorious adventure.” As for the timing of these space travels, Bezos was less direct, focusing on the lack of progress humans have made in this area, and not having the “puzzle pieces in place to allow (space travel) to explode with entrepreneurial fashion.”
Blue Origin, however, hopes to change that, as a maker of reusable rocket engines and a seller of such to space companies. “I’m very excited about being the premier supplier of propulsion to other companies,” said Bezos. “Rocket engines are so difficult to develop that you shouldn’t keep them to yourself. You can build a very good business that’s helpful to other companies by sharing your propulsion technology.”
Currently, Blue Origin, or plain old “Blue” in informal terms, was founded in 2000, and named because Earth is the “blue planet” and the place of humans’ origin. It currently has 600 employees. Bezos also told reporters that there will be more than 1,000 employed by next year, with most going to work on the next-generation BE-4 engine, and the company’s orbital spacecraft.
Additionally, Bezos shared why he and Blue Origin have been mostly secretive when it comes to their space travel plans. “I’ve always said that space is very easy to over-hype. There are very few things in the world where you can get more attention,” he said. “The ratio of attention you can get to what you’ve actually done can be extreme. I’ve always thought that it’s not helpful. I’ve always said the same thing: We’ll talk about Blue when we have something to talk about. It’s a long pipeline to fill. In this business, there’s a lot of price of admission, just getting the basics down.”