24 thoughts on “SpaceX Envy”

    1. Wanting it more matters. For Musk this is more than just a hobby. He wants off planet now, and won’t take no for an answer.

      For Bezos, having his own space program is just another billionaire status symbol, like a yacht or a super model wife. It says “look everyone, I’m disgustingly rich!” That’s why his people feel little pressure to produce.

      1. You are absolutely correct. In fact I had posted an article to USENET sci.space.policy yesterday that more or less said exactly that. The same reason why Old Space, relying on the government to set the direction of their rocket programs, essentially stayed on the ground.

      2. He’s also an oligarch who’s injected his wealth and power into the politics of the country on the side of the left. He runs what amounts to a monopoly business but is so powerful that he can evade anti-trust actions by the government. I’m frankly surprised he isn’t calling in favors from the Biden administration to handicap Musk.

        1. “I’m frankly surprised he isn’t calling in favors from the Biden administration to handicap Musk.”

          Funny you should mention that…


          Maybe doesn’t qualify as a favor from the administration, but getting legislation drawn up to force a second lunar lander choice for “redundancy” because you lost a contract after bidding twice the winning bid seems pretty close.

        2. He is positioning his companies to capture government. BO doesn’t have much to offer right now except to ULA but push too hard and ULA might make their own engines. In the realm of AWS though, much different story.

  1. I think maybe she should have taken him up on it because it sounds much less stressful, with no worries about payloads and customers or scorching re-entry.

  2. Bezos comes off as the type of guy who would try and lure Shotwell away to damage Musk rather than help his own company. Who is more responsible for the success of SpaceX, Musk or Shotwell?

    “At the time, Bezos was telling colleagues that he wanted to “get paid to practice” with launching and landing the New Glenn rocket.”

    He could have marketed his toy rocket, even operating at a loss, he would have got practice and not just for launch operations but the business side.

    Nothing stopping him from getting paid to test New Glenn but he has to get one off the assembly line first and be prepared to see it go poof and roll out another in a time frame shorter than a decade.

  3. I’m starting to wonder, for the first time, if all Bezos has really accomplished is to build a couple billion dollars in slick launch and fabrication infrastructure at LC-36 which either Elon Musk or Peter Beck will be able to pick up for a song in the mid-2020’s once Bezos finally gives up his space dream in frustration to go play on his yacht.

    1. So, in other words, you expect Bezos to pack it in, ship it out and then it’s Beck To The Future?

        1. Interestingly enough, Musk is the guy with the spaceship that looks like it was built by SPECTRE. 🙂

  4. When I interviewed at Blue about 15 years ago, they seemed serious about going to LEO and way beyond (not being too specific due to the NDA I signed as part of the process). In the intervening decade, I think they may have lost focus, starting with becoming ULA’s engine provider, with the results we see. I suspect New Glenn will fly successfully, probably in late 2023, but that’s at least three years later than it should have been had they kept focused.

    (Yes, they made me an offer. No, I didn’t take it, for multiple reasons, and in retrospect, that was definitely the right decision.)

    1. I told Alan Stern a decade ago, who was a Blue adviser at the time, that the company struck me as an expensive hobby on Bezos’ part, but he was very insistent, “No, no, he’s serious.”

      I haven’t followed up on that conversation recently…

      It is interesting how many people from Old Space that he’s hired, like Clay Mowry and Sam Gunderson. It seems like he saw Elon’s success in getting government contracts, and hired experts at getting government contracts, instead of understanding that one of the reasons that Elon got government contracts was because he was getting results without government contracts, not because he hired government-contract experts.

      1. Good point but Bezos did what 99% of other companies do when starting a company that will work with/for government, is heavily regulated, or needs regulatory easement. How many other companies suffer because they hired too many government rats and miss the payoff because they lose focus?

  5. In Bezos’s position I’d be trying to hire Shotwell and anyone else I could get from SpaceX.

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