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Blue Origin: What is the space project Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is stepping down to focus on?

The billionaire will assume a new job at Amazon, as executive chair. Andy Jassy will replace him as CEO.

In a statement, he said the decision was based in part on his desire to focus on Blue Origin, his private space company.

“As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions,” he said in a statement.

Blue Origin may not be quite as famous as fellow tech billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX. It arguably hasn’t had quite the same success, either.

Blue Origin was actually founded two years before SpaceX, in 2000. But it has spent almost all of its life working in secret, and only started to talk publicly about its plans around five years ago, though it still remains somewhat secret.

Since that time, Mr Bezos has been spending  around a billion dollars a year on the company, funded by sales of Amazon stock.

It is still yet to achieve many of the milestones that SpaceX and others have achieved. Notably, the company is yet to complete any passenger flights, despite previous commitments to have done so by now.

New Shepard is named after Alan Shepard, the first man in space. Blue Origin is also working on another vehicle known as New Glenn – named after John Glenn, the first American in orbit – and Mr Bezos has suggested that there will be a New Armstrong named after Neil, too, though has not said much about what that will be.