Amazon.com cofounder Jeff Bezos is a known longtime space advocate, and now he has the money to spend on this.
In the year 2000, he created the company Blue Origin, though kept it secret for several years until he started buying land in Texas for his facilities. However, his ambitions at the time were for suborbital space tourism flights for the immediate future, with vertical landing similar to the old McDonnell Douglas DC-X (Delta Clipper Experimental) single-stage-to-orbit program of 1991-96, stopped by NASA after several short range take off and landing tests. Blue Origin hired some of the engineers who had worked on the DC-X, resulting in the New Shepherd spacecraft for suborbital space tourism.
A few test vehicles were built and field tested from 2006 to 2011, the last resulting in loss of control of the craft at about 45,000 feet and speed Mach 1.2, with the craft destroyed.
However, since 2009, on a parallel track, Blue Origin has received about $25 million from NASA as part of its Commercial Crew Development program (CCDev). Of special interest to NASA has been Blue Origin's Launch Abort System (LAS). Blue Origin started focus on a crew capsule which would be launched on an Atlas V rocket rather than its own.
Blue Origin has stated an intention to develop its own rocket which could launch its capsule instead of depending on the Atlas V, but is at a very early stage compared to the other players in the Earth launch market.
Blue Origin is worth including on the PERMANENT website mainly out of respect for Jeff Bezos, but it lags far behind the other players in this section. We can expect Jeff Bezos to stay involved in the pursuit of space colonization for as long as he lives, one way or another.
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