A recent SEC filing indicates that Amazon CEO—and founder—Jeff Bezos just sold $941 million in Amazon stock, this week. This is the approximate equivalent of one million shares. Bezos explained, at a space symposium just last month, that he plans to sell about $1 billion in Amazon stock every year in order to invest in his other company, Blue Origin.
“What is Blue Origin?” you are probably asking. Bezos actually started Blue Origin in 2000, at the same time that he launched Amazon.com. The premise of Blue Origin was commercial space travel. Obviously, Bezos chose to focus on the company that would provide more immediate turn around and spent more time effectively building Amazon, which now acts as a bit of a cash cow for Blue Origin. With that in mind, then, Bezos uses the sales of Amazon shares to fund development and testing for projects like the New Shedpard rocket, which is aimed specifically at suborbital flight. For now, the company is touting gorgeous views of Earth as well as just a few moments of micro-gravity.
Most importantly, though, Blue Origin aims at making reusable rockets. In traditional space flight, the rockets eventually burn out the fuel and then separate from the shuttle and return to Earth. Typically, they fall into the ocean (and have to be retrieved). The New Shepard rockets, though, can return to Earth and land safely to be used again later.
You may recall that Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, has also been working on reusable rockets. Its just that you may have heard more about SpaceX’s [failed] test launches of late, simply because they have been more active and more vocal about the tests they have been conducting.
All that in mind, Blue Origin is looking to develop rockets that can not only return to Earth, of course, but can launch a payload to deliver goods to astronauts aboard the space station. They are currently building a rocket at a manufacturing plant just south of the Kennedy Space Center with plans to eventually launch it from Cape Canaveral. The cost of this new orbital rocket (the New Glenn)?
But Blue Origin could also make waves as an [outsourced] manufacturer of rocket engines. For example, private space company United Launch Alliance has shown great interest in engines developed by Blue Origin for its latest generation commercial launch vehicles.