Jeff Bezos is costing the American taxpayer billions of dollars a year, and not through Amazon. As you might know, he also owns his own space company, Blue Origin. Blue Origin gets billions of dollars per year in government contracts for space hardware, and yet the only thing they have accomplished is a suborbital rocket for rich tourists. Bezos and Blue Origin recently made headlines when he took a suborbital joyride on his phallic-shaped rocket, along with three other people. Despite the facade of a successful company, Blue Origin is actually a wasteful and spiteful company which has yet to deliver a product of any importance.
One of the big issues I have with Blue Origin is the fact that they have yet to produce an orbital rocket of their own design, and that they have yet to produce a flight ready engine which is an even bigger problem. The only orbital engine they have ever tried to make is, so far, a complete failure. The BE-4 is the engine in question and Blue Origin is not only building and using it for themselves, but they are also selling it to another company, United Launch Alliance (ULA) for their next generation vehicle, Vulcan. Blue Origin has over promised on their timelines and haven’t delivered on their promise of a 2017 deadline.
This is where the issues start to arise. The reason ULA chose the BE-4 for the Vulcan is because the United States recently passed legislation requiring government contracted launch providers to use American made engines. The vehicle that they are currently using and phasing out, the Atlas V, uses Russian built engines.
Due to the lack of delivery on a single flight-ready BE-4 engine from Blue Origin, ULA cannot put the Vulcan on the launch pad. This has already caused issues within ULA as they recently had to switch a government contracted mission from the Vulcan, to their Atlas V vehicle; this was only allowed because they lowered the price of the mission, which cost ULA a pretty penny. The mission is for a Space Force satellite, which requires a timely launch, hence why they allowed ULA to switch to the Atlas V despite it using Russian built engines.
The failure to deliver engines is just one issue that Blue Origin is currently tackling. They are also committed to having the WORST public relations department in the world. As of late, they have been bashing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and SpaceX because NASA decided not to choose Blue Origin for a lunar landing contract for the Artemis Program. Blue Origin has released several garbage infographics on Twitter highlighting why they think they should have won the contract over SpaceX and it is absolutely pitiful. Their infographics are full of false information as well as points that are easily refuted.
For some context, NASA held a competition to determine who would build the lunar lander for the upcoming Artemis moon missions. Three competitors were chosen to submit designs for a lander; SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics. SpaceX ended up winning the contract due to having the cheapest and best design. SpaceX also reduced the price of their design at the last minute, which made it an easy choice for NASA. Blue Origin didn't like this very much and now they are suing NASA for a large sum of money for choosing SpaceX. This lawsuit is costing the Artemis program a substantial amount of time, as NASA has to put the lander contract on hold while in litigation with Blue Origin.
It is also rich to see them attacking competitors about their designs when they themselves wouldn't be able to launch their own lander due to their lack of an actual orbital vehicle. If Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin really wanted to gain back the respect of the space enthusiasts, and the American taxpayer, they should stop their campaigns against NASA and SpaceX, and they should work on getting their flight hardware ready to fly.
One of the reasons Bezos stepped away from the position of CEO at Amazon was so he could spend more time on his work with Blue Origin. All his company has accomplished in it’s 21 years of existence is the development of a penis shaped rocket which can’t even get into orbit. Compare that to SpaceX, which has fully developed two orbital rockets, made one of them partially reusable, launched astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), and is now developing the first fully reusable rocket in the world. All while being two years younger than Blue Origin. (That is just a partial list of all that they have accomplished.)
Instead of having his interns complain on social media, Bezos should really keep his butt on the ground and start putting in the work to make Blue Origin a better space company.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.