A large number of top talents of blue origin lost, and many executives left after Bezos’s first flight


Tencent technology news on August 21, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos entered space for the first time in the spacecraft of blue origin, his space company, at the end of July. However, since he returned to earth, the company has lost a large number of top talents. At least 16 key executives and top engineers left blue origin this summer, many of them within weeks of Bezos’s first flight.
Among them, Nitin Arora and Lauren Lyons, two engineers of blue origin, announced this week that they would join SpaceX, a space exploration technology company under Elon Musk, and firefly Aerspace, a space startup. Other leavers have also quietly updated their personal information on LinkedIn, a professional social networking site, in the past few weeks.
On May 9, 2019, Jeff Bezos, founder of blue origin, introduced the lunar lander called “blue moon” at the event at the Washington Convention Center
Informed sources confirmed that these departures include Steve Bennett, senior vice president of the new Shepard launch vehicle program, Jeff Ashby, Mission Assurance Director (retired), Scott Jacobs, national security sales director Bob es, senior director of the new Glenn launch vehicle project, bill Scammell, senior financial manager of the new Glenn project, Christopher Payne, senior manager of production and testing, Nate Chapman, technical project manager of the new Shepard Dave Sanderson, senior propulsion design engineer, Rachel Forman, human factors engineer of advanced human landing system (HLS), Jack Nelson, chief integration and test engineer of be-4 engine, Huong VO, chief avionics software engineer of new Shepard, Aaron Wang, avionics Hardware Engineer of be-7 Rex Gu, a propulsion engineer, and Gerry Hudak, a rocket engine development engineer.
Those who announced their departure from blue origin did not specify the reasons, but in the employee comments on the job search website Glassdoor, they often mentioned their disappointment with the management level and procrastinating bureaucracy of senior executives.
A spokesman of the company stressed the growth of blue origin in a statement. He said: “the number of employees of blue origin has increased by 850 in 2020. So far, we have increased by 650 in 2021. In fact, the number of our employees has increased nearly fourfold in the past three years. We continue to be a leader in manufacturing, quality, engine design and rocket design. This is the team we are building. We have many outstanding talents. ”
Many of the engineers who chose to leave came from the lunar lander project of blue origin. In April this year, the company failed in bidding for a valuable lander development contract with NASA. At that time, SpaceX became the only contractor for NASA’s human landing system (HLS) project and won a contract worth $2.9 billion.
Although the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) rejected blue origin’s protest against NASA’s decision last month, the company did not give up. It first launched a public relations offensive against SpaceX’s starship system, and then sued NASA in federal court this week.
$10000 cash bonus
On July 20, 2021, Jeff Bezos came out of the new Shepard capsule after his first space flight and opened champagne to celebrate
Blue origin has nearly 4000 employees all over the United States. It is headquartered in Kent, Washington, near Seattle. At the same time, it has factories in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Van Horn, Texas and Huntsville, Alabama.
A number of people familiar with the matter said that 10 days after Bezos’s space flight on July 20, blue origin gave all full-time employees a cash bonus of $10000 without any conditions. However, temporary workers of blue origin are not included. The company confirmed the award, and a spokesman pointed out that it was a gratitude for achieving the milestone of manned spaceflight.
Two people familiar with the matter said that within the company, the bonus was considered to be an attempt by the company’s leadership to attract talents to stay in response to the surge in the number of employees submitting resignation applications after Bezos’s first flight.
Looking at Glassdoor, you will find that there is a huge gap in employees’ satisfaction with the leadership of blue origin compared with other top space companies. According to Glassdoor, only 15% of blue origin employees support CEO Bob Smith, while musk and Tory Bruno of ula support 91% and 77% respectively.
Battle of HLS
In August 2020, the manned lander model of NASA Johnson Space Center
NASA’s human landing system (HLS) is a key component of the agency’s Artemis return to the moon program. Last year, NASA allocated nearly $1 billion for the HLS concept development contract, of which SpaceX won $135 million, defense contractor dynetics won $253 million and blue origin won $579 million. NASA then expects to award hardware development contracts to two of the three companies this year. However, due to the shortage of funds applied by Congress for HLS, Nasa decided to award SpaceX only a $2.9 billion contract.

Both blue origin and dynetics quickly protested to Gao, forcing NASA to suspend contract related work until the protest was resolved. On July 30, Gao upheld NASA’s decision. On August 16, blue origin went further and sued NASA in the U.S. Federal Claims Court. So far, NASA has paid $x 3 billion for the space contract, which was allocated on the day when Gao rejected the blue origin protest. However, according to the latest court documents, NASA’s work on promoting HLS will stop again and will not resume until November 1.
Major delay
On July 20, 2021, Bezos and three crew members took off from the blue origin launch site near Van Horn, Texas on a new Shepard rocket. This is the world’s first autonomous suborbital manned flight
Since Bezos hired Smith as CEO in 2017, blue origin has not made much progress on many major projects. Bezos founded the company in 2000 with the goal of creating “a future in which millions of people live and work in space for the benefit of the earth”. Although delays are common in the industry, they have prevented Bezos from achieving its vision, as highlighted by the departure of blue origin’s chief operating officer at the end of last year.
Bezos entered the edge of space as one of the first crew members of the blue origin reusable new Shepard rocket. Although the company has not disclosed the ticket price of space tourism, the new Shepard has competed with virgin Galaxy in the field of suborbital space tourism, and blue origin has sold nearly $100 million worth of future tickets. Despite the success of the first manned launch, the leadership of blue origin had previously predicted that the company should be able to carry out manned launch as early as the end of 2017.
Artistic rendering of the blue origin new Glen rocket installed on the Florida launch pad
The new Glen is a reusable next-generation launch vehicle under development but not yet launched by blue origin. The first flight was originally scheduled for 2020, but it is now expected to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2022. Although blue origin received $255 million from the U.S. air force to help develop the rocket, there was still a delay. The U.S. Department of defense did not choose the new Glenn contract last year, but chose SpaceX and ula to win a number of contracts, with a cumulative value of billions of dollars. Blue origin mentioned this failure when announcing the postponement of the new Glen project.
The be-4 engine was tested at the Texas launch site of blue origin
The third major project of blue origin is to build a stable rocket engine, led by the be-4, which will power its new Glen rocket. The company previously said that the be-4 engine would be “ready to fly in 2017”.
However, four years later, development problems and the lack of hardware for testing mean that blue origin has not yet delivered its first flight engine. The company is pushing to prepare two be-4 engines by the end of this year. It is worth noting that be-4 is not only crucial to the blue origin program, because ula has also signed an agreement to use these engines to power its Vulcan rocket. Ula is promoting the launch of its first Vulcan rocket by the end of this year. The blue origin be-4 engine is expected to be the last part added before launch.
In the past 20 years, Bezos has been paying attention to Amazon most of the time, but in the process, he has always insisted on selling part of his shares in this technology giant to provide funds for the development of blue origin, up to $1 billion or more a year. Last month, Bezos resigned as CEO of Amazon, and many people in the space industry expect him to spend more time focusing on his space ambitions´╝ł Tencent Technology (reviser / Jinlu)