FAA review paper criticizing Blue Origin on safety

Texas News Today

US aviation regulators said they were considering a letter signed by a former employee of Jeff Bezos’ space company that claimed the company prioritizes speed over the safety of some rockets. ..

A letter published online Thursday raised security concerns and sexual harassment cases at Blue Origin LLC. Alexandra Abrams, one of the company’s former employees, was listed as the official signer of the letter and confirmed that she had signed it. The letter said that 20 other current and former employees also signed but did not name them.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that it is investigating the safety claims made in the letter and takes all such claims seriously. Aviation security agencies control space launches, spacecraft re-entry and the operation of commercial launch sites.

Blue Origin said in a statement that it supports the security record. Abrams was fired two years ago after being repeatedly warned about federal export control issues.

Abrams, who works with employees at a Kent-based company in Washington, said he was never warned by management on the subject. She said she was eventually fired by Blue Origin in protest of the company’s move to handle allegations of sexual harassment in arbitration by Blue Origin, pursuant to an agreement with Blue Origin employees.

Founded by Bezos 20 years ago, Blue Origin employs about 3,500 employees in facilities nationwide to develop rockets, engines and other spacecraft. In July, the company completed its first space launch, propelling a former Amazon CEO and three others to the edge of space.

Blue Origin’s letter competed with other space industry billionaires such as Elon Musk and progressed to Mr. Bezos, “seemingly prioritized over safety concerns that would have delayed the schedule. That’s it. Years ago, company leaders insisted on increasing the number of New Shepard rockets that could fly, but some employees believed that the propulsion jeopardized flight safety.

Blue Origin said it believes New Shepard “is the safest spacecraft ever designed or built.”

In July, ahead of the company’s space flight with Bezos, the FAA issued a license to Blue Origin to allow people to launch into space.

According to the letter, an unnamed former Blue Origin executive called a woman the word “baby girl” and asked about her dating life before she was released for groping for female subordinates.

Blue Origin declined to comment on some of the claims. The company said in a statement that it will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind.

“We provide our employees with a range of means, including a 24/7 anonymous hotline, to quickly investigate new allegations of fraud,” the company said.

write to Micah Maidenberg ([email protected])

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