Blue Origin lost at least 17 top staffers weeks after SpaceX was awarded the $2.9 billion NASA moon-lander contract, reports say – Yahoo News

Blue Origin

A team led by Blue Origin was one of three bidders for the lunar contract. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

At least 17 top staffers at Blue Origin left the company this year, with many departing in the weeks after founder Jeff Bezos flew into space, CNBC reported.

The news follows a report by Insider’s Kate Duffy on Tuesday, which revealed that a lead engineer left to join Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

As CNBC reported, this was not the only high-level departure. Many other engineers and key leaders have also left, it said.

Several of those departing had been part of the team that tried to land a high-profile NASA lunar contract, the outlet said.

Fox Business said it confirmed the departure of about a dozen employees.

Bezos’ space company has grown rapidly in recent years, with about 1,500 employees joining since the beginning of 2020, a spokesperson told CNBC. They said: “In fact, we’ve grown by nearly a factor of four over the past three years.”

The departures were noteworthy because of their timing, coming after NASA in April announced that SpaceX would be awarded a $2.9 billion contract for a moon lander for the Artemis missions, reports said.

During the bidding process for the Artemis contract, NASA said it expected to choose two partners, but it chose to award a single contract. A team led by Blue Origin was one of three bidders.

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos wears a pair of reflective aviation glasses under a cowboy hat

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos with aviation glasses that belonged to Amelia Earhart. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Blue Origin in April filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office. The federal watchdog in July rejected its protest.

Blue Origin earlier this month said it was suing NASA in federal claims court, saying in its complaint that the agency didn’t properly evaluate the proposals. NASA last week paused work on the moon-landing contract until November.

Bezos went to space in July, marking his company’s first crewed space flight. After his trip, Blue Origin paid $10,000 bonuses to employees, CNBC reported.

Insider has reached out to Blue Origin for comment.

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