Jeff Bezos’ temporary journey to area was additionally a business for Rivian


After years of preparation and billions of {dollars} spent on the mission, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos received to be one of many first folks to trip a rocket constructed by his different firm, Blue Origin, to the sting of area. However the occasion itself was additionally an opportunity for Bezos to advertise a 3rd funding within the wider Amazon portfolio: EV startup Rivian.

All through the published, Rivian’s electrical pickup truck and SUV could possibly be seen shuttling Bezos and his fellow astronauts round — an unsurprising resolution contemplating Amazon now owns greater than 10 p.c of the EV startup after main and collaborating in a number of funding rounds. The hosts of Blue Origin’s livestream made certain to let everybody watching know what they have been seeing, too.

“And right here the astronauts come. There you see Jeff Bezos within the foreground, Oliver Daemen entering into the Rivian,” Ariane Cornell, Blue Origin’s director of “astronaut and orbital gross sales,” cheerily mentioned throughout the broadcast because the group hopped in one of many startup’s SUVs to move to the rocket for his or her trip to area. Then we received a protracted, steady aerial shot of the electrical SUV driving towards the pad, cut up side-by-side throughout an interview with Mercury 13 legend Wally Funk.

After the crew safely landed an hour later, there they have been once more: a set of Rivian pickups and SUVs rumbling over the West Texas panorama to greet the not too long ago returned astronauts. (The electrical autos have been tucked in amongst a number of different pickup vans and SUVs made by Ford — which additionally owns greater than 10 p.c of Rivian.)

The Rivians — doubtless on mortgage, as a consequence of the truth that they’re nonetheless carrying producer plates — weren’t simply there for the sake of the published, both. At one level, Blue Origin used the slide-out tenting kitchen on a pair of Rivian pickups to cook dinner up sausages and carne asada for company attending the launch — an non-compulsory function that the startup has promoted loads within the run-up to manufacturing.

Blue Origin is a non-public firm, and very similar to Virgin Galactic — which launched founder Richard Branson to the sting of area lower than two weeks in the past — this primary mission was as a lot about promotion because it was about science or exploration. However whereas Branson’s occasion had a music pageant vibe, Blue Origin’s was extra according to Bezos’ infamous calculation. It was an opportunity for him to advertise the issues he plans to spend his time on now that he’s now not Amazon CEO, like his area firm and his local weather fund, and to toss a bone to the electrical car firm that Amazon has dumped a bunch of cash into. Maybe the one shocking factor is that the supply van Rivian is constructing for Amazon wasn’t there, too.

It’s not like Rivian, which not too long ago delayed the primary deliveries of its pickup truck and SUV to later this yr, actually wants the eye. The startup has already raised greater than $8 billion so far. Rivian has additionally already confirmed adept at developing with its personal efficient cross-promotions. However Rivian is at present within the means of making ready an preliminary public providing, so it’s doable this show of company synergy performs proper into the fingers of the bankers.

The commercialization of the area business has been occurring for some time, nevertheless it’s actually ramped up in recent times as corporations like Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX matured. These corporations have got down to dominate all the pieces from the “boring” duties like cargo runs and science missions to the riskier endeavors like strapping folks inside a spaceship. They’ve realized the worth of the eyeballs these missions entice, too. In spite of everything, earlier than SpaceX launched the primary people to area from United States soil final yr, these astronauts additionally took a promotional trip to the rocket — in a Tesla Mannequin X.

Extra reporting by Joey Roulette.


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