Blue Origin Federation, LLC is an American privately funded aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company headquartered in Kent, Washington.
Founded in 2000 by Jeff Bezos, the company is led by CEO Bob Smith and is developing technologies to enable private human access to space with the goal to dramatically lower costs and increase reliability.
This company is employing an incremental approach from suborbital to orbital flight, with each developmental step building on its prior work. The company motto is Gradatim Ferociter, Latin for "Step by Step, Ferociously".
Blue Origin is developing a variety of technologies, with a focus on rocket-powered vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) vehicles for access to suborbital and orbital space. The company's name refers to the blue planet, Earth, as the point of origin.
Key Description of Blue Origin:
Owner: Jeff Bezos
Founder: Jeff Bezos
CEO: Bob Smith
Founded: 8 September 2000, Kent, Washington, United States
Headquarters: Kent, Washington, United States
Number of employees: 2,500 (2019)
Subsidiaries: Blue Origin Florida; Blue Origin Texas; Blue Origin International
Official Website: www.blueorigin.com
History of Blue Origin:
Company founder Jeff Bezos has been interested in space from an early age.
Company was founded in 2000 in Kent, Washington, and began developing both rocket propulsion systems and launch vehicles. Since the founding, the company was very secretive about its plans and emerged from its "self-imposed silence" only after 2015.
While the company was formally incorporated in 2000, its existence became public only in 2003, when Bezos began buying land in Texas, and interested parties followed up on the purchases. This was a topic of some interest in local politics, and Bezos' rapid aggregation of lots under a variety of whimsically named shell companies was called a "land grab".
From 2003 to 2017, Company was led by its president, Rob Meyerson.
In April 2019, Blue had more than 2000 employees, with plans to have more than 2600 by the end of 2019.
As of 2016, Blue Origin was spending US$1 billion a year, funded by Jeff Bezos' sales of Amazon stock. In both 2017, and again in 2018, Bezos made public statements that he intends to fund Blue Origin with US$1 billion per year from sales of his equity in Amazon.
Early test flights
|5 March 2005
|Reached altitude of 96 m (315 ft)
|13 November 2006
|First rocket-powered test flight
|22 March 2007
|19 April 2007
|6 May 2011
|PM2 (Propulsion Module)
|24 August 2011
|PM2 (Propulsion Module)
|Failure, loss of vehicle
|19 October 2012
|New Shepard, capsule only
|Pad escape test flight
Funding of Blue Origin:
By July 2014, Jeff Bezos had invested over US$500 million into Blue Origin. Even by March 2016, the vast majority of funding to support technology development and operations at Blue Origin has come from Jeff Bezos' private investment, but Bezos had declined to publicly state the amount prior to 2017 when an annual amount was stated publicly.
Company will receive up to $500 million from the United States Air Force over the period 2019 - 2024 if they are a finalist in the Launch Services Agreement competition, of which they have received at least $181 million so far. Compnay has also completed work for NASA on several small development contracts, receiving total funding of US$25.7 million by 2013. As of April 2017, Bezos is selling approximately US$1 billion in Amazon stock each year to privately finance Blue Origin.
With NASA: Blue Origin has contracted to do work for NASA on several development efforts. The company was awarded US$3.7 million in funding in 2009 by NASA via a Space Act Agreement under the first Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program for development of concepts and technologies to support future human spaceflight operations. NASA co-funded risk-mitigation activities related to ground testing of
(1) an innovative 'pusher' escape system, that lowers cost by being reusable and enhances safety by avoiding the jettison event of a traditional 'tractor' Launch Escape System, and
(2) an innovative composite pressure vessel cabin that both reduces weight and increases safety of astronauts. This was later revealed to be a part of a larger system, designed for a biconic capsule, that would be launched atop an Atlas V rocket. On 8 November 2010, it was announced that Blue Origin had completed all milestones under its CCDev Space Act Agreement.
With DARPA: Compnay cooperated with Boeing in Phase 1 of the DARPA XS-1 spaceplane program.
United Launch Alliance: In September 2018, it was announced that Blue Origin's BE-4 engine had been selected by United Launch Alliance to provide first-stage rocket engines for ULA's next-generation booster design, the Vulcan rocket. The BE-4 engine is set to replace the Russian-built RD-180 currently powering ULA's Atlas 5.
With United States Space Force: Blue Origin is reportedly in contracting talks with the United States Space Force according to Lt. General David Thompson.