Jeff Bezos’ space tourism and rocket company is replacing its CEO with a longtime Amazon executive.
Current Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith — a former Honeywell executive who took over in 2017 — will step down to make way for Dave Limb, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services, according to a Blue Origin spokeswoman. Report Monday.
In the statement, Blue Origin called Limb “a proven innovator with a customer-first mindset. He has extensive experience in the high-tech industry and growing highly complex companies, including Amazon’s satellite business, Project Kuiper.”
The company also noted that Smith has led Blue Origin’s transformation from “an R&D-focused company to a diversified aerospace business with $10 billion in customer orders and more than 10,000 employees.”
Limp’s first day at Blue Origin is December 4, the company said. However, Smith will stay on until January 2 “to ensure a smooth transition”.
Blue Origin has worked for more than a decade to develop a companion rocket and spacecraft called New Shepherd, capable of carrying paying customers and scientific experiments to the edge of space. The company’s first successful space mission will carry Bezos as one of the passengers in 2021. New Shepard has completed five additional missions with crew aboard.
However, the vehicle has not returned to flight since an uncommissioned science mission ended in failure in September 2022.
Blue Origin is still working on several high-profile projects. It is building a heavy-lift rocket called the New Glenn, powerful enough to reach Earth orbit, with the aim of competing with SpaceX for satellite launch contracts. Engines developed for New Glenn, known as the BE-4, are also set to power the new Vulcan rocket developed by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture established by Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
Blue Origin struggled to deliver the BE-4 engines and was delayed for months. But ULA now expects the first launch of its BE-4-powered Vulcan Centaur rocket to take place this year, sending a NASA-backed spacecraft to the moon.
Separately, Blue Origin won a long-awaited contract for NASA’s lunar exploration program — Artemis — in May, landing $3.5 billion to build a spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts to the lunar surface.