Bezos Funding Blue Origin by Selling $1 Billion in Amazon Stock Annually

New Shepard crew capsule (Credit: Blue Origin)

This week, Jeff Bezos revealed how he is funding Blue Origins, when human flights on New Shepard will begin, and the approximate cost of developing the New Glenn launch vehicle.

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos said on Wednesday he is selling about $1 billion worth of the internet retailer’s stock annually to fund his Blue Origin rocket company, which aims to launch paying passengers on 11-minute space rides starting next year.

Blue Origin had hoped to begin test flights with company pilots and engineers in 2017, but that probably will not happen until next year, Bezos told reporters at the annual U.S. Space Symposium in Colorado Springs….

Blue Origin is developing a second launch system to carry satellites, and eventually people, into orbit, similar to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule.

Development costs for that system, known as New Glenn, will be about $2.5 billion.

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  • JamesG

    Gettin’ while the gettin’s good…

  • I think that Bezos’ $1B comment was more hyperbole than an accurate estimate of how much he spends on Blue each year. $1B is a very round figure. Also, in the past, his employee numbers have been far lower than, say, SpaceX’s.

  • JamesG

    Well when you’ve got so many billions, its hard to keep up with them all.

  • duheagle

    I agree. Both Musk and Bezos have become pretty good at what the sports world has long referred to as “poor-mouthing” about their circumstances and prospects. It does occur to me, though, that there is probably a way to check on the veracity of Bezos’s claims anent Amazon stock. I believe sale of shares by company principals must be reported to the SEC and that such reports are public documents. Perhaps someone knowledgeable of such matters could do a little spade work and tell us all “Yea” or “Nay” on that billion a year thing.

  • duheagle

    Even if Bezos’s claim proves true, the value of his remaining Amazon shares continues to increase far faster than the rate of his Blue Origin investments. As of the 2016 Forbes 400 list, Bezos is now the 2nd richest American and is closing in on long-time Numero Uno Bill Gates. On the same list, Elon Musk was in 34th place.

  • ThomasLMatula

    This is why I buy as many things as I could via Amazon. The more Amazon makes, the closer humanity is to building a Solar System wide economy.

  • duheagle

    My daughter seems to have the same idea.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Blue Origins strategy in action. Fly, learn, improve, fly.

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/04/blue-origin-may-begin-second-round-of-new-shepard-tests-by-late-summer/

    “To find out what has been happening behind the scenes with the second iteration of the New Shepard rocket, Ars spoke with Blue Origin President Rob Meyerson. He said the company’s engineers have learned a lot of “little lessons” from the test flights of the New Shepard module in late 2015 and early 2016.”

    and

    “After making a few dozen fixes and modifications to the New Shepard system, Blue Origin is now building three operational propulsion modules and two crew capsules. A testing program will begin by “late summer or early this fall,” Meyerson said. After uncrewed test flights, “test passengers” could be added early in 2018 before customer flights later in the year—if all goes as planned.”