Good day, readers: Welcome again to Max Q. First, an introduction: I’m Aria Alamalhodaei, the resident area and transportation reporter right here at TechCrunch. I’ll be taking on the Max Q publication from Darrell Etherington for the following few months.
Bezos’ labor woes
Jeff Bezos is again within the information this week, this time over allegations of a hostile work surroundings and a scarcity of deal with security from 21 present and former workers of his area firm, Blue Origin. The information couldn’t come at a worse time for the corporate, which is at present mired in a lawsuit towards NASA over its choice to award a lunar lander contract to rival SpaceX.
The essay collectively composed by the workers paints a vivid image of Blue Origin’s work tradition as one marred by sexual harassment, wherein skilled disagreement is stifled, environmental considerations are left unaddressed and pace of execution takes priority over human security.
Blue Origin disputed the allegations of sexual harassment in a remark to TechCrunch, however they didn’t reply to a follow-up inquiry relating to security and whether or not the corporate has inserted stifling non-disparagement clauses in worker contracts.
TechCrunch spoke to the only named writer of the letter, Alexandra Abrams, who mentioned she determined to go public together with her id as a result of she felt a way of duty for different workers.
“I actually felt like I had compromised my integrity at Blue Origin,” she mentioned. “I did my finest, however I used to be Bob’s govt communicator and helped make him look good.”
It’s arduous to think about how this essay might not have an effect on Blue Origin’s backside line. After the profitable launch of New Shepard in July, wherein Bezos and three others went to area throughout an 11-minute flight, the corporate intends to start out welcoming extra paying prospects on flights.
The scenario was made much more sticky when the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed to TechCrunch that “the company is reviewing the knowledge” within the essay. “The FAA takes each security allegation significantly.”
Whereas Abrams confirmed that the FAA had not but reached out to her, she mentioned she would “very a lot welcome” that.
“I really feel like I’m fulfilling my job description as worker communications for the primary time.”
U.S. House Pressure grants funds for next-gen rocket improvement
The U.S. House Pressure has awarded a collective $87.5 million in funding to SpaceX, Blue Origin, Rocket Lab and United Launch Alliance for tasks associated to next-gen rocket engine testing and upper-stage enhancements — that features Rocket Lab’s mysterious Neutron rocket and Blue Origin’s heavy-lift launch car New Glenn.
SpaceX and ULA are already established launch suppliers for the U.S. authorities below the House Pressure’s Nationwide Safety House Launch program. Each Rocket Lab and Blue Origin will be capable to compete for the following collection of launch procurement contracts in 2024, and contracts like these are indicators that the 2 firms are gearing up to take action.
Blue Origin’s subsequent manifest
One final story associated to Blue Origin this week… the corporate introduced the following two individuals that can take a journey on the New Shepard rocket: Dr. Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Planet Labs and present accomplice at enterprise capital agency DCVC; and Glen de Vries, co-founder of the medical trial software program firm Medidata Options.
The flight is scheduled to take off on Tuesday, October 12, at 9:30 AM EST from Blue Origin’s sprawling Launch Website One simply outdoors of Van Horn, Texas. The corporate has not launched particulars relating to the identities of the remaining two crew members however we’ll actually be protecting our ear to the bottom. (Learn our story on Blue’s first crewed launch right here.)
Orbital servicing startup raises $7M
In-orbit satellite tv for pc servicing firm Starfish House raised $7 million to speed up the event of its Otter “area tug,” a spacecraft that the corporate says will be capable to clear up orbital particles and prolong the helpful lifetime of satellites in geostationary orbit. Within the longer-term, Starfish even says the area tug could possibly be used as autonomous in-orbit robots for a complete vary of functions associated to the long run area economic system, together with mining, manufacturing and recycling.
A $300M satellite tv for pc manufacturing facility for Florida’s House Coast
Florida’s House Coast economic system bought a serious increase this week when it was introduced that contract producer Terran Orbital would construct a $300 million satellite tv for pc manufacturing facility at Kennedy House Middle. The 660,000-square-foot facility would be the world’s largest, in accordance with the corporate, and that’s not too arduous to consider, contemplating the anticipated output: 1,000 full satellites and over 1 million satellite tv for pc elements per 12 months.
Be part of us at TC Periods: House in December
Final 12 months we held our first devoted area occasion, and it went so effectively that we determined to host it once more in 2021. This 12 months, it’s taking place December 14 and 15, and it’s as soon as once more going to be a completely digital convention, so individuals from all around the world will be capable to be a part of — and you may, too.