Blue Origin logoIt was a happy weekend for NASA, with the federal

Blue Origin logoIt was a happy weekend for NASA, with the federal space agency’s successful landing of its Mars rover yesterday and its Friday agreements with three American companies – Boeing among them – to design and develop the next generation of U.S. human spaceflights. Less happy is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose commercial venture, Kent-based Blue Origin, was scratched from the funding race to build a space taxi – having lost its test vehicle at 45,000 feet during an experimental flight last year. NASA awarded most of the latest funding to Boeing’s Houston-based Space Exploration operation, granting $460 million towards the aerospace giant’s development of a craft to launch astronauts from U.S. soil in the next five years.Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), of Hawthorne, Calif. – which is partnering with billionaire Paul Allen in another commercial space venture and hired ex-U.S. Senator Slade Gorton to lobby on its behalf – was awarded $440 million towards its craft development. Sierra Nevada Corporation, of Louisville, Colo., was awarded $212.5 million.Bezos’ venture ran out of the money, though it had been in competition with the other three through last year. In 2011, NASA doled out $270 million to the four companies, with $22 million going to Blue Origin.Billionaire Bezos will now have to continue his space venture independently, its future less clear. The company rarely publicly speaks about its progress and its Update page on the firm’s website hasn’t been updated since last November, following announcement of the in-flight loss (explosion?) of its second test vehicle at Mach 1.2 speed and an altitude of 45,000 feet.Blue Origin continues to offer job openings, however, for engineers and developers as it focuses in part on developing reusable launch vehicles utilizing Vertical Take-off and Vertical Landing (VTVL) technology, according to the website. Its long-term goal is to make space travel possible “at dramatically lower cost and increased reliability.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

More in News & Comment

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

Screenshot from Barnes and Noble website
Cover art of books that KSD Librarian Gavin Downing says have been under fire: “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts),” by Lev A.C. Rosen, “If I Was Your Girl,” by Meredith Russo, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George Matthew Johnson.
Kent middle school librarian wins intellectual freedom award

Gavin Downing refused to keep ‘silence in the library’ amid attempted book banning and censorship.

Kent elementary school teacher accused of using racist language toward student

River Ridge Elementary instructor placed on administrative leave by Kent School District.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.

Joann and Allan Thomas are flanked in court by their attorneys Terrence Kellogg (fourth from the right) and John Henry Browne (far right) on May 10, 2022. Judge Richard Jones is presiding over the case. Sketch by Seattle-based artist Lois Silver
At drainage district corruption trial, it’s a tale of dueling conspiracies

Allan and Joann Thomas are in trial in Seattle on fraud charges.

King County logo
King County audit finds backlog of property tax exemption applications for seniors, people with disabilities, and disabled veterans

The auditors found that program expansions lead to three-times the amount of applications.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson (Screenshot from video press conference)
AG announces $518 million settlement from pharmaceutical companies over their role in opioid crisis

Most of the settlement money will be used to mitigate the opioid crisis in Washington.

Most Read