Blue Origin, the space tourism and rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos, is set to replace its CEO with a longtime executive from Amazon. The current CEO, Bob Smith, will step down from his position in January 2024 and will be succeeded by Dave Limp, the senior vice president of devices and services at Amazon.
Blue Origin confirmed the news in a statement, highlighting Limp’s experience and customer-focused mindset. Limp has been involved in the high-tech industry for several years and has played a significant role in developing Amazon’s satellite business, Project Kuiper.
The statement also praised Bob Smith for his leadership in transforming Blue Origin into a multifaceted space business with significant customer orders and a growing employee base. Smith will remain with the company until January 2, 2024, to facilitate a smooth transition.
Blue Origin has been working on developing its suborbital rocket and spacecraft, named New Shepard, for over a decade. This vehicle is capable of carrying paying customers and scientific experiments to the edge of space. The company successfully completed its first crewed spaceflight in 2021, with Jeff Bezos as one of the passengers. Since then, New Shepard has completed five additional missions with people on board.
However, Blue Origin faced a setback when an uncrewed science mission in September 2022 ended in failure. The company has not conducted any further flights since then.
In addition to New Shepard, Blue Origin has other ambitious projects in progress. The company is developing a heavy-lift rocket called New Glenn, designed to reach Earth’s orbit and compete with SpaceX for satellite launch contracts. Blue Origin’s engines created for New Glenn, known as BE-4, will also power the new Vulcan rocket, a joint endeavor by Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
Although Blue Origin experienced delays in delivering the BE-4 engines, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) is expecting to launch its BE-4-powered Vulcan Centaur rocket this year. The rocket will carry a NASA-backed spacecraft to the moon.
Blue Origin’s achievements have not gone unnoticed by NASA, as the company secured a $3.5 billion contract in May for NASA’s moon exploration program, Artemis. The contract involves developing a spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts to the surface of the moon.
With the appointment of Dave Limp as the new CEO, Blue Origin aims to continue its pioneering work in the space industry. The company remains committed to advancing space tourism, satellite launches, and lunar exploration.