Blue Origin, the spaceflight company founded by Jeff Bezos, is undergoing a leadership change as CEO Bob Smith steps down and is replaced by Dave Limp, a senior executive at Amazon. Limp, who heads Amazon’s devices and services business, including the Alexa voice assistant and Echo smart speakers, will take over on December 4. The move comes as Blue Origin faces challenges in its space projects, including losing a NASA contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX and allegations of a toxic work environment. However, the company still has a significant backlog of projects worth $10 billion and is aiming to launch its future orbital rocket, New Glenn, soon.
Blue Origin’s decision to replace CEO Bob Smith with Dave Limp, a high-profile leader at Amazon, marks a significant change in leadership for the spaceflight company. Limp’s experience in the devices and services business, responsible for products such as the Alexa voice assistant, will bring new perspectives to Blue Origin. Smith, who faced criticism for setbacks and development hurdles in the company’s space products, including losing a NASA contract to SpaceX, will step down on December 4. Despite the challenges, Blue Origin still has a strong pipeline of projects worth $10 billion and aims to launch its New Glenn rocket in the near future.
In addition to its leadership change, Blue Origin has been dealing with other obstacles in its space endeavors. The company’s suborbital spacecraft, New Shepard, has been grounded for a year after an engine failure, while its rival Virgin Galactic has made progress with its commercial flights. Blue Origin attributed the failure to a thermo-structural issue and is making upgrades to address the problem. Furthermore, the launch of its future orbital rocket, New Glenn, has faced multiple delays. These challenges, along with previous accusations of a toxic work environment, highlight the difficulties Blue Origin has faced under Smith’s tenure. However, the company’s recent win of a $3.4 billion NASA contract shows its potential to be a key player in space exploration.