Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jeff Bezos – Man in Space

Henry Blodget interviews Jeff Bezos for Business Insider:
HB: In addition to everything else we’ve talked about, you make rockets. You want to go into space. This is a proclivity that you share with fellow billionaires such as Elon Musk and Richard Branson. First of all, what is it about space that captivates you? Second, what are you doing that’s different? Third, just talk about how hard it is when you saw Richard have an accident that has set everybody back a long time. Talk about space. What’s the vision there?

JB: First of all, and most fundamentally, you don’t get to choose your passions. Your passions choose you. For whatever reason, when I was 5 years old, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. I was imprinted with this passion for space and for exploration. I think it’s important. I could come up with lots of rational reasons why it’s important, and I really do believe them.

I think it’s probably a survival skill that we’re curious and like to explore. Our ancestors, who were incurious and failed to explore, probably didn’t live as long as the ones who were looking over the next mountain range to see if there were more sources of food and better climates and so on and so on.

We are really evolved to be pioneers. For good reason. New worlds have a way of — you can’t predict how or why or when — but new worlds have a way of saving old worlds. That’s how it should be. We need the frontier. We need the people moving out into space.

My vision is, I want to see millions of people living and working in space. I think it’s important. I also just love it. I love change. I love technology. I love the engineers we have. They’re brilliant. We have about 350 people there. We’re building a vertical takeoff, vertical landing vehicle. It takes off like a regular rocket, and it lands on its tail like a Buck Rogers rocket.

The initial mission is space tourism. We’re also designing an orbital vehicle. We just won a contract to provide the new engines for the new version of the Atlas 5, which is the most successful launch vehicle in history. That’s a Boeing-Lockheed joint venture. That vehicle uses Russian engines, and because of all the things that are happening in Ukraine and so on, that supply of engines has become less certain, so they want to switch away from a Russian-made engine and they chose [us] to provide that engine. It’s a very exciting endeavor. Great team. They’re just doing a wonderful job, and it’s fun.

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