Blue Origin

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Re: Blue Origin

#41 Post by PHXPhlyer » Sat Oct 02, 2021 1:11 am

Blue Origin: Essay alleges sexism, 'dehumanizing' culture at Jeff Bezos' rocket company [-X

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/01/tech/blu ... index.html

New York (CNN Business)A group of 21 current and former employees at Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos, co-signed an essay speaking out against what they describe as a toxic workplace where "professional dissent" is "actively stifled," and certain male leaders routinely engage in sexist behavior.

All but one of the signatories declined to be publicly identified for fear of professional retribution.
Only one — Alexandra Abrams, who was employed with the company for two and a half years during which she had a stint in public relations before establishing the company's department of employee communications before she was fired in 2019 — agreed to go on-the-record.
In a statement, Blue Origin said it has "no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind. We provide numerous avenues for employees, including a 24/7 anonymous hotline, and will promptly investigate any new claims of misconduct." The company did not respond to requests for comment about specific allegations in the essay.

Blue Origin was founded by Bezos in 2000, and it currently has more than 3,000 employees, working on projects that include a suborbital space tourism rocket, a massive launch vehicle that could be used to haul satellites to space for the US government and other customers, as well as a lunar lander that is currently at the center of a legal standoff with Elon Musk's SpaceX.
Blue Origin's goal is to develop technology that will expand humanity's presence in outer space under the stated belief that "to preserve Earth, our home, for our grandchildren's grandchildren, we must go to space to tap its unlimited resources and energy."
In the 2,200-word essay, which was published by Lioness, which works with whistle blowers and is representing the signatories pro bono, they describe themselves as space enthusiasts who believed in Blue Origin's mission. They include men and women, most of whom spent at least two years at the company and include senior engineers and managers who have worked across a variety of departments and programs, according to a list of the signatories reviewed by CNN Business.
But their passions dissolved after experiencing what they described as a "dehumanizing" workplace environment.
'Suppression of dissent' and sexism
The essay claims that Blue Origin's CEO, Bob Smith, who took over the company in 2017, installed an "inner circle" of trusted top-level executives that make "unilateral decisions, often without the buy-in of engineers, other experts, or senior leaders across various departments."
Fear and anxiety about stepping out of line with Smith's inner circle is pervasive, according to the essay. At one point, he also distributed a list of perceived "troublemakers" to senior leaders. The existence of the list was corroborated by CNN Business.

The essay signatories also decry alleged sexist behavior at Blue Origin, describing a workplace in which women's ideas are routinely dismissed and certain male executives are known to condescend to female employees.
One senior leader — also a member of Smith's alleged circle — was the subject of "multiple" HR complaints stemming from his "consistently inappropriate [behavior] with women," the essay claims. CNN Business also corroborated multiple examples of what female employees called sexist behavior, including embracing ideas brought to him by a man that were previously brought up by women and commenting on women's bodies.
Blue Origin did not respond to an inquiry about the executive.
'Burnout'
Blue Origin describes itself as a company content with slow, methodical rocket development that covets safety over all else. The company even adopted the mascot of a tortoise, a reference to the famed fable in which "slow and steady" wins the race.
The company attracted wall-to-wall news coverage this past July when it launched Bezos himself to the edge of space, weeks after announcing the plan. After Bezos made public his own intentions, Richard Branson's company, Virgin Galactic, announced its own plan to put the British billionaire into space, and managed to do so nine days before Bezos could launch.
"At Blue Origin, a common question during high-level meetings was, 'When will Elon or Branson fly?'" the essay reads, adding that competition with other billionaires was a large motivating factor. Abrams said she was present for at least one such meeting. One internal memo from 2018, obtained by CNN Business and mentioned in the essay, paints a roadmap for Blue Origin to mimic SpaceX's culture — in which "burnout is part of their labor strategy" and there's a willingness to "bend the rules."
In this environment, safety is not an option, even if we repeatedly state that it is our highest priority

FORMER BLUE ORIGIN SENIOR ENGINEER

Though every rocket launch is inherently risky because of the sheer complexity and power of the vehicles involved, some engineers at the company have also pushed back against what they saw as a desire to put speed over safety, according to the essay and internal documents. One senior engineer, for example, resigned in April 2020 to protest a "'schedule-biased drive [that] is incapable of producing safe systems engineering."
"In this environment, safety is not an option, even if we repeatedly state that it is our highest priority," the resignation letter, obtained by CNN Business, reads.
The essay published Thursday also states that many of its authors "say they would not fly on a Blue Origin vehicle."
The Federal Aviation Administration, which licenses commercial space launches, said in a statement about the essay Thursday that it "takes every safety allegation seriously, and the agency is reviewing the information."
Blue Origin has not publicly identified any technological or mechanical issues with test flights — of which there have been more than a dozen — or the crewed flight of New Shepard in July, which flew Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, an 18-year-old whose father paid for his seat, and 82-year-old Wally Funk, who trained for NASA's Mercury program but was denied the opportunity to go to space.
During a webcast of Blue Origin's latest test flight, the company reiterated that safety is the "main priority" on every mission.

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Re: Blue Origin

#42 Post by PHXPhlyer » Sat Oct 02, 2021 1:12 am

Blue Origin: Essay alleges sexism, 'dehumanizing' culture at Jeff Bezos' rocket company [-X
Part 2


Why Abrams came forward
Abrams told CNN Business that she was drawn to a job in the so-called new space industry because she believed in its stated ideology — to push advancements in technology to bring to fruition an exciting new future in which people live and work in space. But she fell out of love with space exploration during her time at Blue Origin.
"It was a death by a thousand cuts," she told CNN Business.
One turning point for Abrams, she said, was the company's decision to draft new employment agreements that included forced arbitration clauses — essentially stripping workers of their rights to sue the company in the event of wage and harassment claims — after a landmark Supreme Court decision in 2018. Since the decision, such clauses have grown increasingly common in employee contracts. A non-profit left-leaning think tank, the Economic Policy Institute, along with the Center for Popular Democracy, estimated in one report that more than 80% of private sector non-union workers will be covered by forced arbitration clauses by 2024.
Abrams said she fought back in meetings, arguing that though such agreements were considered enforceable, they were exploitative and unethical. Abrams did manage to get the company to carve out an exception for harassment-related claims, according to Abrams and a copy of a Blue Origin employment agreement obtained by CNN Business.
But having to battle Blue Origin's decision to include the clause at all disheartened her.
I was like, 'Wow, now I see how the most powerful person in the world uses their power.' They use it to continually shore up their position and disempower people around them.

ALEXANDRA ABRAMS, FORMER BLUE ORIGIN HEAD OF EMPLOYEE COMMUNCIATIONS

"I was like, 'Wow, now I see how the most powerful person in the world uses their power.' They use it to continually shore up their position and disempower people around them," she told CNN Business. "And that kind of broke my mind about all the stuff I've been communicating about space and humanity's better future...That was the last straw."
Blue Origin did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.
The company added the forced arbitration clause to employee contracts in 2019, according to Abrams and a document obtained by CNN Business. Within the same year, Abrams said she was transferred to a new boss, someone in CEO Bob Smith's inner circle. In November 2019 — after two and a half years with the company — she was fired because her superiors said they "could no longer trust" her, and she was escorted out the door by HR, she said.
(A letter Blue Origin sent to Abrams on Monday states that she was terminated for "poor performance and decision-making by you that resulted in senior leadership losing trust in your judgment and ability to preform your job effectively," and a Blue Origin statement to reporters says she was let go "after repeated warnings for issues involving federal export control regulations." Both claims, Abrams said, are baseless.)
She accepted a severance agreement that also included non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses.
Because of her decision to come forward, Abrams said she is expecting the company to sue her. After Lioness, the PR agency she's working with, alerted Blue Origin to her plans to come forward, she received a letter from Blue Origin's legal director of labor and employment on Monday, asserting that the company "reserves its rights" to pursue legal action against her and attempt to recoup her severance pay as well as damages and legal fees.
But Abrams said she decided no amount of money was worth it.
"I don't necessarily think Blue Origin is the most important thing to be talking about on planet Earth right now," she said. "However, I think telling these stories is how we create sparks that create a fire, and I'm no longer going to be silenced."

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Re: Blue Origin

#43 Post by Woody » Mon Oct 04, 2021 5:48 pm

Boldly going where very few have gone before ^:)^

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-58792761
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Re: Blue Origin

#44 Post by PHXPhlyer » Mon Oct 04, 2021 6:41 pm

Beam me up Bezos.

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Re: Blue Origin

#45 Post by PHXPhlyer » Sun Oct 10, 2021 11:30 pm

William Shatner's Blue Origin space trip delayed by weather
At age 90 Shatner would be the oldest person sent to space, but he'll have to wait another day to get there.


https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/wi ... r-n1281193

William Shatner's much-anticipated trip to the edge of space will have to wait a day because high winds in west Texas prompted spaceflight company Blue Origin to postpone the voyage.

Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the launch from the spaceport in Van Horn, Texas, will now take place at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Blue Origin said in a statement Sunday.

"As part of today’s Flight Readiness Review, the mission operations team confirmed the vehicle has met all mission requirements and astronauts began their training today," Blue Origin said. "Weather is the only gating factor for the launch window."

The National Weather Service predicted strong winds for the mountains north of Van Horn through Tuesday, and a Hazardous Weather Outlook was in effect for the region Sunday as gusts were expected to reach speeds of nearly 75 mph.


Shatner, 90, would be the oldest person to travel to space when Blue Origin's New Shepherd 4 vehicle, which includes a rocket engine and a capsule, reaches the boundary of space.

The suborbital limit of the Wednesday mission, dubbed NS-18, means the "Star Trek" legend will only boldly go where no aged person has gone before for a few minutes.

He's expected to be joined by three other passengers: Audrey Powers, Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations; Glen de Vries, co-founder of medical research platform Medidata; and Chris Boshuizen, a tech entrepreneur. The latter two paid for their tickets, expected to cost more than $250,000 each.

Shatner said on NBC's "TODAY" show last week that he was invited. Amazon executive chairman Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, tweeted that the actor is described by the word "Legend."

Shatner expressed nonchalance about his expected spaceflight milestone. When asked how he would prepare for the voyage, he said, "I had some apple pie last night."

He did have some seemingly well-thought-out words to describe the trip, telling "TODAY": "I’m going to see the vastness of space and the extraordinary miracle of our Earth and how fragile it is compared to the forces at work in the universe — that’s really what I’m looking for."

In July Bezos himself took the company's official inaugural trip to space alongside his brother and two others. It was the first unpiloted suborbital flight with an all-civilian crew.

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Re: Blue Origin

#46 Post by Woody » Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:56 am

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-58885555

Even the headline writers couldn’t avoid the obvious quote :D

Edit- can’t help it :))

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Re: Blue Origin

#47 Post by Boac » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:32 pm

Just 23 minutes away from being the oldest person to split the infinitive.

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Sub-orbital flight

#48 Post by Undried Plum » Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:13 pm

It's Space, Jim, but not as we know it.

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Re: Blue Origin

#49 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Dec 10, 2021 11:25 pm

There's a long history of failed attempts to put American journalists in space. Now, Michael Strahan is going

https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/10/media/bl ... index.html

Shortly before Jeff Bezos flew to space in July, "Good Morning America" host Michael Strahan was one of the few journalists who got to ask the billionaire directly why he was going. Little did the public know that Strahan would be offered the same opportunity a few months later.

"Being there at the first launch... it really was mind blowing," Strahan told his GMA co-anchors last month when he publicly revealed that Blue Origin had tapped him to fly on the next space launch, scheduled for Saturday. "I do believe that [space travel] will bring a lot of technological breakthroughs and also innovations to us here on Earth, and I just wanted to be a part of it."
And so too have other journalists over the years. The idea of an American journalist going to space has been in the works since Strahan was a teenager, but several attempts were thwarted. In 1990, a Japanese TV reporter became the first journalist to travel to space. Much has changed in the industries of space exploration and of media, but the significance of sending an American journalist to space for the first time still resonates.
"I can't think of too many other beats in what we do as journalists where we are covering something we cannot visit," said Miles O'Brien, an aerospace analyst for CNN and science correspondent for PBS NewsHour. "I think having that ability as a reporter to experience and relay that to an audience would be a great privilege. I would go in a heartbeat."
NASA's Journalists in Space program
Nearly four decades before Bezos offered Strahan a ride to the edge of space, NASA was hashing out its own plans to send a scribe to orbit aboard a Space Shuttle mission.
By late 1985, the Shuttle program had more than 20 orbital flights under its belt, and NASA was hoping to capture the public's imagination by sending regular civilians on a mission. It would be the ultimate sign that space travel had become a routine endeavor, and the cosmos was opening up for everyday people to explore.
A couple politicians had joined shuttle flights. And Christa McAuliffe, a high school teacher from New Hampshire, had been selected from a pool of more than 11,000 applicants to be the first private citizen in space. Space journalists of the day felt they had a "divine right" to be among the first civilians in space as well, as Alan Ladwig, former manager of NASA's Space Flight Participant Program, put it in his book "See You in Orbit?"
Ladwig's team set up the Journalists in Space program in October 1985. NASA picked the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communications (ASJMC) to lead the selection process.

Calls were made in op-eds and private conversations to ensure the winner would maintain journalistic independence, allowing this person to report from space with a scrutinizing eye unfiltered by NASA's PR team. The flight would be offered for free — something some journalists took qualms with based on ethical, conflict-of-interest concerns.
"If you take that flight, you are by definition to some extent in NASA's pocket. How objective could you possibly be?" CBS News space consultant Bill Harwood told CNN Business. "I had mixed feelings about it."
"I remember having those conversations," Harwood continued, "that whoever flies this flight a) is going to have a wonderful opportunity. They're going to have a great story. Everybody's going to see their work, but b) are you somehow compromised by doing it because it is such a singular thing? You are totally beholden to the people you're covering."
Strahan will face the same issue with his flight. He'll get his seat free of charge, flying as one of Blue Origin's "honorary guests."
Back in the 1980s, more than 1,700 reporters applied, from celebrity newscasters Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokow and Dan Rather to journalists from small, local newsrooms. Harwood said he was not qualified to apply since he had less than five years of professional journalism experience at the time.
Cronkite, then 69 years old, said at the time that he was unsure he could pass a NASA physical, but "there ought to be a great advantage to prove that any old fart can do it," The Washington Post reported.
But then, McAuliffe's flight — and the entire Space Shuttle program — took a dire turn. Just over a minute after McAulliffe and her crewmates took off aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986, an explosion occurred, destroying the the spacecraft and killing all seven passengers.
The nation was in mourning. Investigations were launched. Then-President Ronald Reagan was defiant, pledging in an address from the Oval Office that "there will be more shuttle flights and shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space."
That, however, didn't exactly pan out. The Teacher in Space Project was canceled.
The Journalist in Space program was canceled, too, shortly thereafter, even though the ASJMC had winnowed its field of applicants down to 40 finalists, which included Cronkite and other journalists from national and local outlets.
"As soon as Challenger went down you knew that was over. There was never any question. A school teacher just died on national television. There was no way that it was suddenly going to be okay for a journalist to fly."

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Re: Blue Origin

#50 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Dec 10, 2021 11:26 pm

There's a long history of failed attempts to put American journalists in space. Now, Michael Strahan is going
Part 2.


https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/10/media/bl ... index.html

BILL HARWOOD, CBS NEWS SPACE CONSULTANT

"As soon as Challenger went down you knew that was over," Harwood said. "There was never any question. A school teacher just died on national television. There was no way that it was suddenly going to be okay for a journalist to fly."
A new wave of journalists moved in to cover the space program, this time with renewed willingness to challenge and question NASA on its safety practices, Ladwig said.
The desire to go to space, for most journalists, "completely disappeared," said Irene Klotz, the space editor for Aviation Week.
"Everything then was just focused on what happened and how to recover from it and how to return to flight," Klotz told CNN Business. The Space Shuttle program moved on, but civilian flight programs did not.
The Cold War and commercialization
In 1990, however, as the Cold War began to thaw, a Japanese television station — Tokyo Broadcasting System — decided to fork over $10 million to secure a ride to the Soviet-controlled Mir space station for one of its anchors, Toyohiro Akiyama. He'd become the first Japanese person and the first journalist ever to travel to space.
American journalists were outraged, Ladwig said.
They "just went nuts," he said. "It was like, I can't believe that we're not going to be the first."
Akiyama, then 47, spent nine days in space, feeding live — and unvarnished — broadcasts back to the ground between bouts of extreme nausea brought on by motion sickness, a common ailment frequently reported even by professional astronauts.
At the time, The Washington Post reported Akiyama, "seems to have a new complaint every day."
"He has no appetite. He needs a smoke. He's dizzy because all the blood settled in his head. The liftoff felt like 'riding a dump truck down a rocky road.' It's hard work going to the bathroom without gravity to help," The Post wrote in 1990. "His stomach feels like it's standing straight up. His head feels like it's floating away. He badly needs a [cigarette]."

It was a stark contrast to the occasionally stoic, often technical accounts of space travel relayed by professional astronauts.
Akiyama's mission — though perhaps not the best advertising — was seen as a step forward in commercializing the Soviet space program. One columnist in the British magazine New Scientist in 1991, called on Western nations to embrace privatized space travel, noting it was "true irony" that the Soviet Union had done so first.
Nearly a decade later, O'Brien was working to convince NASA and his employer at the time, CNN, to send him to space. It was a goal his CNN colleague, John Holliman, had before he died in a car accident in 1998, O'Brien said.
"I felt almost obligated to pick up the ball and keep plugging away," O'Brien told CNN Business.
CNN hashed out a deal with NASA to put O'Brien on a Space Shuttle flight, pledging to donate reportedly a seven-figure sum to an organization such as the Challenger Learning Centers in exchange.
Reporters who enrolled in NASA's defunct Journalists in Space program were again left out of the equation.
"It was a horrible day on so many levels, but the thing I couldn't really share with anybody was that I knew in an instant that was the end of my dream."

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AEROSPACE ANALYST AND PBS NEWSHOUR SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT

"That did not go over well," Ladwig said. "Forty people went through this big selection process and then NASA Administrator decides 'No, I'm going to fly Miles [O'Brien]' ... They were not happy about that at all."
But the Shuttle program was thrown into limbo yet again when the Space Shuttle Columbia was torn apart during reentry on February 1, 2003, killing seven astronauts.
"I was on the air for 16 hours that day," O'Brien said. "It was a horrible day on so many levels, but the thing I couldn't really share with anybody was that I knew in an instant that was the end of my dream."
Strahan's flight
NASA's Shuttle program has been retired for a decade, and the space industry has been commercialized. Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson are among the billionaires building rockets to take paying customers on spacefaring joyrides — pledging to make good on earlier promises of sending everyday people on extraterrestrial adventures.
Civilian space tourists now include Oliver Daemen, a recent high school graduate, Hayley Arceneaux, a childhood cancer survivor and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital physician assistant and actor William Shatner.
Next, it's Strahan.
Prior to his career in morning television, Strahan was a celebrated professional football player who spent all 15 years with the New York Giants before retiring in 2007.

On a recent GMA segment from his first day of training camp for his upcoming Blue Origin flight, Strahan joked about his football experience.
"I'm nervous as a rookie in training camp for the Giants today," Strahan said. "I got to say I've done a lot of training camp, 15 years of training camp or 14 because I sat out my last one for football, but this is definitely some training."
Strahan elaborated on his decision to go to space on an earlier GMA segment.
"I guess I kind of want to take a trip that's outside of this world. I just want to see the world or the planet from outside of itself," Strahan said. "I think it's gonna be fun. I think it's gonna be epic. I just think it's going to be something that I'll have a chance to experience that just very few will, so that's why I want to do it."
Given Strahan's title as an "honorary guest" on the Blue Origin trip, he may not be in a position to be an objective stenographer. And Blue Origin passengers are bound by non-disclosure agreements, preventing them from discussing ticket prices and certain other aspects of their experience. GMA declined to make Strahan available for comment.
When explaining the arrangement to his GMA co-anchors on air last month, Strahan said Blue Origin "approached me and they asked if I wanted to be a crew member, and without hesitation, I said, 'Yes.'"
Though Strahan may not be a hard news reporter like Cronkite or an expert space journalist, O'Brien told CNN Business that he sees value in sending someone like the former football player turned TV personality into space.
"To the extent that [Strahan] can communicate in an everyman way what that experience is like, I think it's a great opportunity," O'Brien said.

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Re: Blue Origin

#51 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Dec 10, 2021 11:37 pm

FAA says lack of federal whistleblower protections is 'enormous factor' hindering Blue Origin safety review

https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/10/tech/blu ... index.html

New York (CNN Business)Jeff Bezos' rocket company, Blue Origin, became the subject of a federal review this fall after a group of 21 current and former employees co-signed an essay that raised serious questions about the safety of the company's rockets — including the rocket making headlines for flying Bezos and other celebrities to space.


But that review was hamstrung by a lack of legal protections for whistleblowers in the commercial spaceflight industry, according to emails from Federal Aviation Administration investigators that were obtained by CNN Business.
The FAA also confirmed in a statement Friday that its Blue Origin review is now closed, saying the "FAA investigated the safety allegations made against Blue Origin's human spaceflight program" and "found no specific safety issues."
The emails obtained by CNN Business, however, reveal that investigators were not able to speak with any of the engineers who signed the letter anonymously. Investigators also were not able to go to Blue Origin and ask for documents or interviews with current employees or management, according to the FAA.
The situation highlights how commercial spaceflight companies like Blue Origin are operating in a regulatory bubble, insulated from much of the scrutiny other industries are put under. There are no federal whistleblower statues that would protect employees in the commercial space industry if they aid FAA investigators, according to the agency.
The commercial space industry is in a legally designated "learning period" until at least October 2023 — a "learning period" that has been extended several times, most recently by a 2015 law called the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. The idea is to allow the industry to mature and give companies a chance to self-regulate without overbearing government interference. But that designation effectively bars federal regulators from implementing certain new rules or wielding the same oversight powers for commercial space companies as it does for aviation.
That meant that investigators had to rely on current and former Blue Origin employees voluntarily coming forward to offer information.
But "no technical experts have reached out to us or provided any specific documentation regarding the safety allegations. We understand that there are no federal 'whistleblower protection' statutes protecting employees of commercial space companies from retaliation resulting from reporting safety issues," reads one email from FAA investigators that was sent to Alexandra Abrams, who was the only of the essay's signatories to go on-the-record and says she has been running point on the review, on Monday.
"This is in stark contrast to the extensive protections available to commercial aviation industry whistleblowers. We believe this was an enormous factor in our inability to pursue this investigation further," the email continued.
"[T]he FAA could not investigate this matter in depth, and thus, could not substantiate the safety concerns described in the document you provided. No further actions can be recommended at this time," the email states.
Abrams — who was employed with the company for two and a half years, during which she had a stint in public relations before establishing the company's department of employee communications before she was fired in 2019 — told CNN Business that current and former employees that she keeps in touch with have expressed grave concerns about the future of their careers if they agreed to cooperate with investigators.
In one email to investigators, Abrams writes that some employees "fear bodily harm, loss of livelihoods and careers, humiliation" and being targeted by Bezos.
She also shares a text exchange with a Blue Origin engineer who had planned to provide an anonymous written statement to the FAA but later changed their mind, fearing that the statement could be traced back to its source. The engineer adds that they "hope other people...speak up and say something," according to a redacted screenshot of the text exchange.
That pattern continued for weeks in discussions with more than a dozen current and former employees, Abrams said.
"nfortunately, without speaking to anyone or having the ability to review documentation, our hands are tied," one FAA investigator writes in a separate email to Abrams sent November 3.
Blue Origin has routinely said that safety is the company's top priority, and according to the company, there have not been any major issues with its two crewed flights, one of which flew Bezos to space in July, or more than a dozen uncrewed test missions flown over the past several years.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Blue's whistleblowers
The 2,200-word essay was published in September by Lioness, which works with whistle blowers and agreed to represent the signatories pro bono. In it, the 21 signatories — most of whom spent at least two years at the company and include senior engineers and managers who have worked across a variety of departments and programs, according to a list of the signatories reviewed by CNN Business — speak out against what they describe as a toxic workplace where "professional dissent" is "actively stifled."
In a statement responding to the essay, Blue Origin said it has "no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind. We provide numerous avenues for employees, including a 24/7 anonymous hotline, and will promptly investigate any new claims of misconduct." The company did not respond to requests for comment about specific allegations in the essay.
Though every rocket launch is inherently risky because of the sheer complexity and power of the vehicles involved, some engineers at the company have also pushed back against what they saw as a desire to put speed over safety, according to the essay and internal documents. One senior engineer, for example, resigned in April 2020 to protest a "'schedule-biased drive [that] is incapable of producing safe systems engineering."
"In this environment, safety is not an option, even if we repeatedly state that it is our highest priority," the resignation letter, obtained by CNN Business, reads.
The essay published in September also states that many of its authors "say they would not fly on a Blue Origin vehicle."
The FAA said in a statement at the time that it "takes every safety allegation seriously, and the agency is reviewing the information."
But that statement belied a lack of authority the agency had to research or corroborate the claims in the essay.
"In most cases, the FAA is explicitly prohibited from issuing regulations to protect the health and safety of humans aboard commercial spacecraft," reads an October 2021 synopsis on the legal framework from the Congressional Research Service.
Instead, current law "takes an informed consent approach. Operators must notify spaceflight participants (i.e., occupants who are neither government astronauts nor crew employed by the operator) about the risks of launch and reentry and inform them in writing that the U.S. government has not certified their spacecraft as safe," the document states.

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Re: Blue Origin

#52 Post by PHXPhlyer » Sun Dec 12, 2021 1:34 am

NFL, TV’s Michael Strahan flies in space with astronaut’s daughter
Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley were among the six passengers who blasted off from West Texas inside Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.


https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/nf ... r-rcna8468

Football star and TV celebrity Michael Strahan caught a ride to space with Jeff Bezos’ rocket-launching company Saturday, sharing the trip with the daughter of America’s first astronaut.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket blasted off from West Texas, sending the capsule on a 10-minute flight with the two VIP guests and four paying customers. Their capsule soared to an altitude of about 66 miles (106 kilometers), providing a few minutes of weightlessness before parachuting into the desert. The booster also came back to land successfully.

A Blue Origin New Shepard rocket lifts off with a crew of six, including Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of the first American in space Alan Shepard, for whom the spacecraft is named, from Launch Site One in west Texas, on Dec. 11, 2021.Joe Skipper / Reuters
It was five minutes and 50 miles (187 kilometers) shorter than Alan Shepard’s Mercury flight from Cape Canaveral on May 5, 1961. His eldest daughter, Laura Shepard Churchley, took along a tiny piece of his Freedom 7 capsule as well as mementos from his Apollo 14 moonshot and golf balls in honor of her dad who hit some on the lunar surface.

Bubbling over with excitement in his “Good Morning America” updates all week, Strahan packed his Super Bowl ring and retired New York Giants jersey No. 92. “Pretty SURREAL!” he tweeted on the eve of the launch, delayed two days by dangerously high wind. Bezos stashed a football in the capsule as well, to be awarded to the Pro Football Hall of Fame following the flight.

Bezos, who flew to space in July in the same capsule, accompanied the six passengers to the launch pad near Van Horn. He had “Light this candle” painted on the launch tower’s bridge, borrowing from Alan Shepard’s famous gripe from inside Freedom 7 as the delays mounted: “Why don’t you fix your little problem and light this candle?”

Shepard Churchley volunteered for Blue Origin’s third passenger flight. She heads the board of trustees for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

“It’s kind of fun for me to say that an original Shepard will fly on the New Shepard,” she said in a preflight Blue Origin video.

Bezos, who founded Amazon six years before Blue Origin, was on the debut launch in July. The second, in October, included actor William Shatner — Captain James Kirk of TV’s original “Star Trek.” The late Leonard Nimoy’s daughter sent up a necklace with a “Vulcan Salute” charm on this flight, in honor of the show’s original Mr. Spock.

The reusable, automated capsule was especially crowded this time. Instead of four, there were six flying.

Among the the four space tourists paying unspecified millions each were the first father-son combo: Financier Lane Bess and his son Cameron. Also flying: Voyager Space chairman and CEO Dylan Taylor and investor Evan Dick.

Blue Origin dedicated Saturday’s launch to Glen de Vries, who launched into space with Shatner in October, but died one month later in a plane crash.

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Re: Blue Origin

#53 Post by PHXPhlyer » Mon Mar 14, 2022 7:21 pm

Pete Davidson will go to space on Blue Origin flight
The “Saturday Night Live” star will be one of six passengers headed to the edge of outer space March 23 on a ship launched by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.

https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop ... -rcna19904

"Saturday Night Live" star Pete Davidson will be part of the latest crew flying to outer space on a rocket and capsule by Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Davidson, 28, will be part of the fourth human flight and 20th flight overall for the New Shepard program, which is scheduled for liftoff on March 23, Blue Origin announced on Monday.

The actor and comedian is the latest celebrity scheduled to take a trip to the edge of space, following “Star Trek” legend William Shatner, 90, who became the oldest person to reach space in October when he took a ride on a Blue Origin flight, and NFL Hall of Famer and broadcaster Michael Strahan, who was part of a flight in December.

Passengers on the flight experience about four minutes of weightlessness by traveling to the edge of space at an altitude of more than 65 miles.

“The King of Staten Island” star will be part of a six-person crew that also includes Party America CEO Marty Allen; philanthropist and real estate mogul Marc Hagle and his wife, Sharon Hagle, the founder of the nonprofit SpaceKids Global; explorer and University of North Carolina professor Jim Kitchen; and Dr. George Nield, the president of Commercial Space Technologies and former manager of the Flight Integration Office for NASA’s space shuttle program.

The liftoff for the flight is scheduled for March 23 at 8:30 a.m. from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas and will be streamed live on Blue Origin’s website.

Blue Origin’s inaugural flight came in July when Bezos and his brother were joined by a pair of other passengers in the high-profile launch.

Each crew member on the upcoming flight will carry a postcard to space submitted to Blue Origin’s Club for the Future Foundation, which works to inspire young kids to pursue careers in STEM.

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Re: Blue Origin

#54 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:32 pm

Blue Origin successfully completed its sixth human spaceflight

https://www.blueorigin.com/news/ns-22-mission-updates/

Today, Blue Origin successfully completed its sixth human spaceflight and the 22nd flight for the New Shepard program. The astronaut crew included: Coby Cotton, Mário Ferreira, Vanessa O’Brien, Clint Kelly III, Sara Sabry, and Steve Young.

The crew achieved three historic firsts:

Sara Sabry became the first person from Egypt to fly to space.

Vanessa O’Brien became the first woman to reach extremes on land (Mt. Everest), sea (Challenger Deep), and air (pass the Kármán line), completing the Explorers’ Extreme Trifecta, a Guinness World Record.

Mário Ferreira became the first person from Portugal to fly to space.

“It’s an honor for our team to provide our customers with a life-changing shift in perspective of our fragile planet,” said Phil Joyce, Senior Vice President, New Shepard. “It's been just over a year since New Shepard’s first human flight, and we have now flown 31 humans above the Kármán line. Thank you to these early pioneers in helping us realize our vision of millions of people living and working in space for the benefit of Earth.”

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