At age 58, Jeff Bezos is one of the wealthiest people on planet Earth. His business acumen has earned him awards, riches beyond compare, and admirers around the globe. But his ruthless tactics have also earned him a fair share of controversy. To some, the founder of Amazon is a shrewd businessman who made his fortune "the old-fashioned way." Others despise him, whether it's because of his vast wealth, how he treats his employees, his weird-looking rockets, or the fact that he wore a cowboy hat into space.
Whatever side of the coin you land, there's no denying he is one of the most successful businessmen of our era. He took the initial concept of an online book-selling company and, over time, turned it into a multinational technology juggernaut with many layers, offering services that have nothing to do with books. According to PBS, he created something that has never been seen "in the history of American capitalism."
Given Bezos' propensity for expanding his empire, his announcement in July 2021 that he was stepping down as the CEO of Amazon to focus on his other ventures didn't shock most. One of those "other ventures" happened to be Blue Origin, his private spaceflight company headquartered in Kent, Washington. Bezos founded it in 2000, a full two years before Elon Musk got around to launching SpaceX.
Blue Origin's mission is to develop safe, cheap reusable launch vehicles and systems so people can work and live in space to save our planet. If you look on Blue Origin's social media pages, you'll see the tagline: "Millions of people living and working in space for the benefit of Earth." It's not just a slogan but the company's whole vision.
One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind
Bezos expects a time when we can move Earth's "damaging industries" into space, where people won't create pollution, usher in global climate change, or cause any number of other hazards on Earth.
During the JFK Space Summit in 2019, Bezos spoke at length about his company and the need for other companies to collaborate to achieve this goal. He referred back to his early days of getting Amazon up and running on the Internet and the countless other examples of "entrepreneurial dynamism" that have taken place over the years because the infrastructure was already in place for someone to start up a company quickly. That's not the case with space, where the cost is so incredibly high that getting any endeavor up and running will take the collaborative support of other companies and governments.
He also wants to help build an infrastructure for others to use by creating reusable liquid rocket engines, an orbital launch vehicle, and next-gen space habitats. All of which will get people to outer space and beyond. The company's website states that it wants to build the road into space "so our children can build the future."
The ubiquitous Blue Origin feather on its landing pads, social media pages, and merchandise represents the "perfection of flight," recalling days when man once looked at birds with awe and dreamt of flying. The company's motto is "Gradatim Ferociter," which means "step by step, ferociously" in Latin.
When asked what "Blue Origin" meant, Bezos mentioned we have sent probes to other nearby planets, and it turns out that Earth is the only one we're currently capable of living on. "It's called Blue Origin because this is the blue planet and this is the planet that we have to save."