Jeff Bezos-owned aerospace tourism company Blue Origin is losing its key employees as it continues to battle rivals, including SpaceX, trying to get NASA’s contract to fly astronauts to the moon.
Thus, at least 17 individuals, including executives and engineers, have already retired from the company this summer, according sources familiar with the matter confirmed to CNBC. It is specified that two engineers have already occupied new positions in competing companies, both at SpaceX and Firefly Aerospace.
In particular, Blue Origin lost Jeff Ashby, a former NASA astronaut, who served as the chief of mission security; Dave Sanderson, Senior Propulsion Design Engineer; as well as Bob Ess, senior director of the New Glenn rocket program, among other prominent employees.
For its part, a company spokesperson pointed out that its workforce is augmented in recent years. “Blue Origin grew by 850 people in 2020 and we have grown by another 650 so far in 2021. In fact, we have grown almost four times in the last three years,” the outlet quotes the spokesperson.
An award to celebrate the milestone (but not for everyone)
The departure of the Blue Origin staff happens in light of their latest achievement. On July 20, Bezos and three other crew members successfully completed their journey into space. To thank the employees for their work, the company awarded all of its full-time members a prize of $ 10,000. However, the bond was not offered to the entity’s contractors.
Furthermore, within the company, this gesture was perceived as a try to motivate workers to stay in their posts, given that at that time some were already requesting authorization to leave.
One of the causes of resignations could lie in dissatisfaction of staff towards how the company is run. It is estimated that only 15% of Blue Origin employees approve the management of their executive director, Bob Smith, while, for example, the same index at SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, is 91%, according to data from Glassdoor, a website where former and current employees can anonymously rate companies.