If Jeff Bezos has anything to say about it, Blue Origin will be sending tourists to space sometime next year. In conversation at the Wired Summit in San Francisco, the Amazon founder and CEO said Blue Origin is the “most important thing I’m working on.”
While there is still no word on how much tickets to fly in Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft will cost, Bezos did share that it would fit six passengers and that these newly minted space tourists won’t require much advanced training to make the trip.
“They’ll have a day or two of training,” Bezos shared on stage. “I’m pushing for a day. I don’t think you need two days of training for this.”
Bezos also weighed in on why Amazon continues to work with the U.S. government on defense contracts, despite peers including Google taking a step back following employee protests.
“If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the U.S. Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble,” Bezos said. “I know everybody is very conflicted about the current politics in this country. This country is a gem. It is amazing. It’s the best place in the world. It’s the place where people want to come. There aren’t other countries where everybody’s trying to get in. I’d let ‘em in if it were up to me. I like ‘em. I want all of them.”
This summer, with his roughly $150 billion net worth, Bezos became the wealthiest person on Earth. And as his financial profile has grown, he has faced criticism for how he uses the resources available to him both personally and at Amazon.
Amazon recently announced that it would be instituting a $15-an-hour minimum wage for warehouse and customer service employees and Bezos launched the $2 billion Bezos Day One Fund dedicated to supporting low-income communities, starting with nonprofit public preschools.
“I will not spend one minute of my life on anything that I don’t think is contributing to civilization and society,” Bezos said of his approach. “You want risk-taking. You want people to have visions that most people won’t agree with. If you have a visionthat everybody agrees with, you probably shouldn’t do it because someone else will do it first. All of the real needle-movers are driven by being right when most of the world is wrong.”
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