April 27, 2003

HOORAY FOR JEFF BEZOS:

Now he has a $1.7 billion fortune to try to convert that dream into reality. NEWSWEEK has learned that Bezos created Blue Origin, also known as Blue Operations LLC, to pursue his fervent dream of establishing an enduring human presence in space. He has surreptitiously recruited a stable of rocketeers: physicists, ex-NASA scientists, veterans of failed space start-ups and even sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson (“Snow Crash” and “Cryptonomicon”), who has a lifelong interest in rocketry. People familiar with the firm say Bezos spends part of a day each week at Blue, and is in frequent touch through e-mail, pinging his staff with technical questions. These sources say Blue Origin is actually building a spacecraft whose mission will be closely related to some of the first voyages that brought astronauts to the very edge of space. Confident that people want to travel beyond the Earth’s atmosphere—even after a second shuttle disaster—Bezos and his engineers are in the process of working on rocket designs. They’re adding staff and aiming toward launching a reusable space vehicle into suborbital space, with seven tourists onboard, in the next few years.

I wonder if he’s a Star Trek fan?

UPDATE: Reader Demian McLean emails that Bezos is indeed a Star Trek Fan:

I worked at Amazon for four years. Bezos named his dog “Kamala,” after a minor character on The Next Generation. Kamala was the metamorph in the episode titled “The Perfect Mate.”

I knew it!