Blue Origin is one of the youngest private space companies. She has launched her New Shepard spacecraft more than once and is now actively working on the large New Glenn launch vehicle. And the company may have big problems.
A group of more than 20 former and current Blue Origin employees who wished to remain anonymous revealed that the company has a major security issue. And this is not about the security of objects or confidential data, but about security issues in the design and creation of missiles.
Unfortunately, no specific issues were listed, but employees said that the company has a recycling culture in which speed of work takes precedence over safety.
Blue Origin is lucky that nothing has happened so far. Many of us have dreamed throughout our careers to help launch a manned rocket into space and see it land safely on Earth. But when Jeff Bezos flew into space in July of this year, we did not share his delight. Instead, many of us watched with an overwhelming sense of unease. Some of us couldn't watch at all
For example, in 2019, the team assigned to operate and maintain one of New Shepard's subsystems included only a handful of engineers working overtime. Their responsibilities went far beyond what would be feasible for a group twice the size, from investigating root causes of failures to regular preventive maintenance of rocket systems. Requests from executives and employees for additional engineers, staff, or costs were often turned down, despite the fact that Blue Origin has one of the largest sources of private funding in the world. Employees are often told to “be careful with Jeff's money,” “don't ask for more,” and “be grateful.” In weekly meetings, employees were often seen as Bezos, and CEO Smith frequently expanded the scope of existing projects.
We have seen a decision-making model that often prioritizes speed and cost reduction rather than allocating the right resources to ensure quality. In 2018, when one executive came to power, the team documented over 1,000 reports of Blue Origin rocket engine problems that were never addressed.
It is also worth noting that the other day the company's employees confirmed the culture of sexism and suppression of dissent in the company. Up to the point that they tried to prohibit employees from asking questions at the only existing event for this event.