Amazon chief Jeff Bezos revealed on Wednesday that he was selling about $1 billion in his e-commerce company’s stock a year to back his rocket company Blue Origin LLC. He uses his considerable stake in the ecommerce firm to fund his private spaceflight firm. Bezos made this announcement at the Space Symposium conference in Colorado.
Space is not cheap and it is the main reason why U.S. space agency NASA has stepped back from its own rocket launches. Several private firms, all of which are partly backed by billionaire businessmen, have stepped up in its place.
Blue Origin is currently working on a reusable space vehicle that could take people on commercial suborbital space flights from as early as 2018. Jeff Bezos disclosed that it would cost over $2 billion to build New Glenn, a rocket even bigger than Blue Origin’s massive New Shepard rocket. According to The New York Times, New Glenn will be capable of pushing satellites and, eventually, people into orbit.
Last week, the Washington-based private rocket firm released the first interior photos of its New Shepard capsule, showing a spacious cabin with massive windows. Engadget notes that a ticket to space will cost as much as $300,000, so Jeff Bezos believes expansive views and comfortable recliners will make the cost worthwhile.
According to Mashable, Bezos owns nearly 81 million shares of the online mega retailer. Blue Origin, like Musk’s spaceflight company, is focusing on reusability to help save a lot of money in the long-term. Last week, the Hawthorne aerospace company broke new ground in reflighting a space vehicle.
Jeff Bezos is selling stock in Amazon to fund his space dream. Like his fellow tech titan Elon Musk of Tesla Motors Inc. and SpaceX, the Blue Origin founder has identified reusable space vehicle parts as key to bringing down the price of admission to the field. Bezos said that if access to space is made cheap, then entrepreneurs will be unleashed.
To fund space tourism and reusable rocket research might seem an odd choice, but Bezos said that it is all part of a long-held dream. Jeff Bezos is the second-richest person in the world, but the billionaire Amazon founder may be willing to forgo that title to fund his space dream. He hopes that the space industry will help build a new world by triggering dynamism and creativity that the Internet has.
Jeff Bezos revealed this week that he is selling $1 billion in Amazon stock each year to back his personal race to space. He is not alone in the dream, though. Both virgin Atlantic and SpaceX are working on reusable rockets. Musk and Bezos have much more challenging goals beyond their current space vehicles. The Amazon chief said that his long-term plan involves having millions of people living and working in space.
By Anila Maring
Photo Courtesy Blue Origin