US regulator examines safety concerns for Bezos Blue Origin space group


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The United States Federal Aviation Administration has said it is addressing safety concerns raised by 21 current and former employees of Blue Origin, the space exploration company owned by Jeff Bezos.

In a Publish Posted Thursday, employees described a litany of what they claimed to be serious cultural failures, including gender discrimination, overwork and a priority of speed over safety, as Bezos races other billionaires, including Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson, to dominate the space.

“At Blue Origin, a common question at high level meetings was, ‘When will Elon or Branson fly? “” the post said. “Competing with other billionaires – and ‘making progress for Jeff’ – seemed to take precedence over security concerns that would have slowed the schedule.”

In response, the administration said, “The FAA takes every security claim seriously and the agency is reviewing the information.”

The post was authored by Alexandra Abrams, former head of employee communications at Blue Origin, and 20 other anonymous current and former workers from across the company, including its engineering and human resources teams.

“When Jeff Bezos flew into space in July, we didn’t share his joy,” one can read. “Instead, many of us watched with an overwhelming sense of unease. Some of us couldn’t bear to watch at all.

The post then alleged that employees, especially women, were subject to “dehumanizing” demands on their time and “systematically inappropriate” comments from some senior management.

He alleged that an anonymous senior official “once asked a group of women he collaborated with:” You should ask me for my opinion because I am a man. of inappropriate behavior, the post said.

Echoing previously expressed concerns about Amazon’s leadership team, Abrams and his co-authors accused Bezos of creating a team at Blue Origin that was “predominantly male and predominantly white.” One hundred percent of senior technical and program managers are men. “

In an emailed statement, the company defended its case. “Blue Origin has no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind. We offer numerous possibilities to employees, including an anonymous 24/7 hotline, and will promptly investigate any new misconduct complaints, ”he said.

“We maintain our safety record and believe New Shepard is the safest spacecraft ever designed or built. “

The company also said Abrams was “fired for cause two years ago after repeated warnings over problems with federal export control regulations,” according to a spokesperson. Abrams denied this claim to CBS News.

A representative for Bezos did not return a request for comment.

The dispute is the latest complication for Blue Origin, which was fully funded by Bezos by selling its Amazon shares.

The company has engaged in a public exchange with Musk’s SpaceX as he and Bezos fight over the same contracts with NASA, with SpaceX so far in the lead.

Following Blue Origin’s filing of a lawsuit to block NASA’s allocation to SpaceX for a lunar mission, Musk earlier this week told reporter Kara Swisher: “You can’t sue your way to the moon, no matter how good your lawyers are. ”

In response, Amazon circulated among reporters a 13-page document detailing the lawsuits filed by SpaceX.

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