Capitalism in space: According to SEC filings, Jeff Bezos this week sold $2.4 billion in Amazon stock, adding to all his increasing stock sales in recent years.
Bezos said in 2017 that he was selling $1 billion a year to fund his Blue Origin space venture, but he has been increasing the size and frequency of the stock sales recently. He sold more than $7 billion last year. This is his first stock sale of 2021.
By my count of all his sales since 2017, Bezos has raised about $12 billion in cash. Of this, he has said that he wants to spend $10 billion on fighting “climate change,” as well as at least $1 billion per year on Blue Origin.
One way or the other, Blue Origin has far more cash available to it than SpaceX. Too bad Bezos’ company has done so little with it in the past four years. Four years ago the company was truly a viable competitor to SpaceX, though behind it in the curve. Then Bezos hired a new CEO, Bob Smith, to run the company. The development pace slowed to a crawl as the company shifted gears from using Bezos’ money to fund development to trying to obtain government money instead. That shift forced Blue Origin to bow to government demands, which in turn slowed development of their New Glenn orbital rocket. The company also took the big space approach toward development of its lunar lander, pausing all real design and construction until it won the NASA contract. This made it less attractive a bid, which is one reason SpaceX’s Starship won the contract instead.
In addition, the company ended the many and frequent test flights of New Shepard that had been occurring, slowing the pace to about one launch per year.
In that time Blue Origin lost so much ground that it will now be difficult, but not impossible, to catch up. Maybe these cash sales by Bezos is to give him the capital to catch up. I hope so. We need real competitors to SpaceX.
Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!
From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space
, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.
does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.
“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.
All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.
Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.