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Jeff Bezos introduces Blue Moon. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is a private space company hoping to send paying customers to space in the very near future. Bezos has often stated the company's goal is to help bring about a future in which millions are living and working in space.

The latest: On May 9, Bezos revealed Blue Origin's new Blue Moon lander, which is designed to get payloads to the moon.

Key facts about Blue Origin:
  • Founder: Jeff Bezos
  • Founded: Sept. 8, 2000 in Kent, Washington (where it is currently headquartered)
    • It has a launch facility in West Texas and, since 2015, has leased Launch Complex 36 in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
    • Blue Origin also has a $205 million, 750,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Merritt Island, Florida, with plans to develop an additional 90 acres at the Kennedy Space Center.
    • In 2015, the company announced it would be building a $200 million factory in Huntsville, Ala. per AL.com.
  • Rockets: New Shepard (a suborbital rocket that could launch its first passengers this year) and New Glenn (an orbital rocket expected to launch in 2021)
    • Blue Origin also boasts the BE-3, BE-4 and BE-7 engines as part of its arsenal.
    • In looking to lower the cost of access to space, both New Shepard and New Glenn are vertical take off and vertical landing vehicles. Because these rockets can be reused multiple times, Blue Origin thinks it will help drive down the cost of launching payloads to space.
  • Funding: As of 2014, Bezos had invested at least half a billion dollars of his own money into Blue Origin. In 2017, Bezos said he was selling $1 billion in Amazon stock per year to finance the company, per the New York Times.
    • In October 2018, Bezos said he plans to spend "a little more" than $1 billion on Blue Origin in 2019.
  • Competition: Most notably, Tesla CEO Elon Musk's own private space company — SpaceX.
    • The two are competing, along with a number of other private space companies, to win contracts to carry cargo payloads to space.
Key rockets:
  • New Shepard: This is the rocket with which Blue Origin plans to begin sending people to suborbital space. The company successfully launched (and landed) the 11th uncrewed test of the launch system on May 2. It launches from West Texas.
    • A flight on the 60-foot-tall New Shepard is designed to bring space tourists at least 62 miles above Earth — the official line where space begins — and lasts 11 minutes. Passengers would be able to see Earth against the blackness of space and feel weightlessness.
    • Blue Origin has yet to announce how much a ticket aboard New Shepard will cost.
    • The rocket is named after Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space.
  • New Glenn: The company is also building the orbital New Glenn rocket, which is designed to bring large payloads to orbit. It will launch from Launch Complex 36 in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
    • Per the Orlando Business Journal, work on the 270-foot-tall rocket is creating 330 jobs with an average annual salary of $90,000.
    • Blue Origin plans to launch New Glenn for the first time in 2021.
    • The rocket is named after astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

"Horrified": AP, Al Jazeera condemn Israel's bombing of their offices in Gaza

A ball of fire erupts from the Jalaa Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Associated Press and Al Jazeera on Saturday condemned the Israeli airstrike that destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza that housed their and other media offices.

What they're saying: The White House, meanwhile, said it had "communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility," according to press secretary Jen Psaki.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
9 hours ago - Health

The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream

The Wuhan Institute of Virology. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream

A group of high-profile scientists published a letter calling for renewed investigation into the origins of COVID-19 — including the theory that it spilled out of a virology lab.

Why it matters: The possibility that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a Chinese lab and accidentally escaped — rather than emerging naturally from an animal — was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory. But the letter shows a potential lab leak is increasingly being taken seriously.