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Jeff Bezos Unveils Blue Origin’s Lunar Lander; Announces Launch Of Next-Gen Rocket In 2021

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos confirmed that his space company, Blue Origin, will launch its next-generation rocket, New Glenn, for the first time in 2021, and also hinted that his company might be capable of helping NASA put humans on the Moon within the Trump administration’s stated five-year time frame.

“We can help meet that time line,” he said. “But only because we started three years ago. It’s time to go back to the Moon—this time to stay.”

Leading up to this dramatic announcement on Thursday at the Washington Convention Center, Bezos couched his vision for his space company in the context of the problems of the world as he sees them. Within the next couple of hundred years, Earth will run out of resources necessary for people to live comfortably, Bezos predicted. Which is why, he says, humanity needs to move into space.

To that end, Bezos revealed Blue Origin’s next-generation rocket, New Glenn, which will begin operations in 2021. New Glenn would be a “heavy lift” rocket, competitive with SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, as well as United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV and in-development Vulcan rocket. According to Bezos, New Glenn will reduce costs by having a first stage that can be reused 25 times and use liquid natural gas as a propellant. Though he did not reveal any pricing information about the rocket, he did mention that the fuel costs per launch would be less than $1 million.

And one of the things that rocket may launch? One of the answers came immediately as Bezos—to great fanfare—showed off a large mock-up of the company’s proposed Blue Moon lunar lander. According to Bezos, the lander will use liquid hydrogen as fuel—just as the company’s New Shepard rocket does today. It will be capable of landing autonomously and be equipped with cameras, lidar and other sensors to map terrain. It will also be configurable in order to handle a variety of missions such as carrying a rover—or humans—to the surface.

Again, there wasn’t any information provided about how much it will cost for a company to buy a mission on the Blue Moon. However, Bezos did reveal that Blue Origin already has customers.

“We already have a bunch of customers for Blue Moon, some of whom are in the audience,” he said. “They’re going to be deploying science missions to the Moon as well.”

Bezos couched these product announcements in the context of his vision for the future, which for him means humanity migrating out to O’Neill habitats–gigantic, miles-long space stations envisioned by physicist Gerard O’Neill in the 1970s, are where humans will live and work comfortably, and conduct heavy industry, Bezos said.  This will leave Earth “zoned for residential and light industry,” he said.

Building grandiose habitats—or even more relatively modest goals like any kind of permanent settlement in space or on the Moon—is not the job of this generation, but the next, according to Bezos. He sees his goal as building the infrastructure necessary for it to happen. “It’s this generation’s job to build that road to space so future generations can release their creativity,” he said.

The company also released a promo video for its lander, which you can view below.

Read more: Jeff Bezos And Elon Musk Want To Go To The Moon—They Just Disagree On How To Get There

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Read my Forbes blog here.

I’m an Associate Editor covering science and cutting edge tech.

Source: Jeff Bezos Unveils Blue Origin’s Lunar Lander; Announces Launch Of Next-Gen Rocket In 2021

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Jeff Bezos To Give MacKenzie 25% Of His Amazon Stake, Worth Tens Of Billions, In Divorce

Axel Springer award ceremony

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, announced on Thursday that he will transfer roughly 4% of the company’s stock to his wife, MacKenzie, most likely by early July. The couple are in the process of finalizing their divorce.

Those shares are worth more than $35 billion as of 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday. That would make MacKenzie the third-richest woman in the world, behind L’Oréal’s Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, who is worth an estimated $52.9 billion, and Walmart’s Alice Walton, who is worth $45 billion. She would rank as the planet’s 26th-richest person, ahead of Nike’s Phil Knight.

Jeff Bezos will remain the world’s richest person, with a net worth above $110 billion, per early Thursday afternoon stock prices. Bill Gates is the world’s second-wealthiest individual, boasting an estimated $99.5 billion fortune.

While still pending, the Bezos divorce settlement will likely be the largest in world history. Other divorces of the ultrarich include Steve and Elaine Wynn (she received an estimated $850 million settlement), as well as Bill and Susan Gross (she received a $1.3 billion settlement).

In a statement posted to his Twitter account, Jeff Bezos said, “In all our work together, MacKenzie’s abilities have been on full display. She has been an extraordinary partner, ally, and mother.”

MacKenzie posted a tweet of her own, saying, “Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff from each other. … Happy to be giving him all my interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin, and 75% of our Amazon stock plus voting control of my shares to support his continued contributions with the teams of these incredible companies.”

The couple filed a petition for divorce on April 4, and they expect an official decree to be issued in early July, they said in an SEC filing that outlined the transfer of shares. The filing noted that Jeff Bezos will continue to exercise voting control over MacKenzie’s shares, unless she sells them on the open market or gives them to qualifying nonprofits.

If MacKenzie transfers shares, the recipient of the stock must sign a similar agreement granting Jeff Bezos voting control.

The couple announced their divorce in January, following 25 years of marriage. Their separation stirred a tabloid frenzy, as intimate text messages between Bezos and his romantic partner, Lauren Sanchez, a TV anchor, were leaked by the National Enquirer.

Bezos subsequently published an open letter accusing American Media Inc., which owns the National Inquirer, of extortion and blackmail. AMI has denied wrongdoing.

Bezos also hired a team of investigators to determine who accessed his private messages. His consultant Gavin De Becker ultimately accused the Saudi Arabian government of illicitly gaining access to Bezos’ cellphone. Saudi officials have denied that allegation.

Angel Au-Yeung covers global business leaders and follows their money for Forbes Magazine.

I’m currently a reporter on the wealth team at Forbes. Before that, I spent a year on the road—driving for Uber in Cleveland, volcano climbing in Guatemala, cattle farmi…

Source: Jeff Bezos To Give MacKenzie 25% Of His Amazon Stake, Worth Tens Of Billions, In Divorce

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