We all remember that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and budding supervillain Elon Musk have started something of a space rivalry. However, while Elon seems to talk about his SpaceX all the time, the notably semi-reclusive Bezos has played things very close to the fleece vest when it comes to his rocket company, Blue Origins.
But according to The Times, Bezos is pulling back the super-cheap curtain on his little space power grab operation...
On Tuesday, for the first time, Blue Origin, started by Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon, opened its doors to reporters.
“Welcome to Blue,” Mr. Bezos said. “Thank you for coming.”
Blue Origin is part of a shift of the space business from NASA and aerospace behemoths like Lockheed Martin toward private industry, especially smaller entrepreneurial companies. Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, founded by another Internet entrepreneur, Elon Musk, has been the most visible and most successful of the new generation of rocket companies. Last Friday, it launched another satellite to orbit, but an attempt to land the booster on a floating platform again ended in an explosion.
And Bezos is totally comfortable showing everyone that he's a cool dude with nothing to hide.
For almost four hours, Mr. Bezos, who only occasionally talks to the press, led 11 reporters on a tour of the factory and answered a litany of questions over lunch. He talked garrulously, his speech punctured by loud laughs. “It’s my total pleasure. I hope you can sense that I like this,” he said.
At times, he told himself to stop talking, and let his engineers make their presentations about a new engine, the BE-4, which is under development with tests of a full version beginning by the end of the year.
Bezos even shared his charming vision of a future Earth...
But there is much energy and raw materials to use elsewhere in the solar system, and eventually, he prophesies, there will be the “great inversion.” Instead of factories on Earth manufacturing sophisticated components that go into tiny machines that go into space, the heavy manufacturing will all be done elsewhere, and Earth, he joked, would be zoned for residential and light industrial use, allowing much of Earth to return to a more natural state. “It’ll be universities and houses and so on,” he said.
But here's to hoping that we get more face time with the future ruler of galactic business before we're all herded into our new residential zones where he can send us groceries and movies for just the cost of a Prime membership...
The tour would not be the last time the doors are open.
Later this year, Blue Origin will give more details about its designs for the larger rocket that will launch from Cape Canaveral, and Mr. Bezos said there would be an opportunity to watch a test flight of New Shepard in Texas.
“We will not be strangers,” Mr. Bezos said at the end.
Of course we won't, Space Emperor Bezos will be just like family.