The founder of Amazon.com has put out the "help wanted" sign for talented engineers who want to help build a rocket ship. Jeff Bezos, the Internet zillionaire, recently has been working on a hush-hush project called Blue Origin. On Tuesday, Bezos took the wraps off some of the development of his team's work on a new sub-orbital spacecraft series, dubbed the New Shepard program, and issued a hiring call for aerospace engineers and managers.
"Blue Origin wants you! Actually, Blue Origin needs you and wants to hire you ... assuming you're a hard working, technically gifted, team-oriented, experienced aerospace engineer or engineering leader," the open letter from Bezos reads. "We're working, patiently and step-by-step, to lower the cost of spaceflight so that many people can afford to go and so that we humans can better continue exploring the solar system. Accomplishing this mission will take a long time, and we're working on it methodically. We believe in incremental improvement and in keeping investments at a pace that's sustainable. Slow and steady is the way to achieve results, and we do not kid ourselves into thinking this will get easier as we go along. Smaller, more frequent steps drive a faster rate of learning, help us maintain focus, and give each of us an opportunity to see our latest work fly sooner."
The front page of the Blue Origin site then offers a number of images and descriptions of the testing going on at the company's Culberson County, Tex., proving grounds on a development vehicle called Goddard. The prototype vertical take-off and landing vehicle is depicted in action during its successful unmanned launch on 13 November 2006, in which it climbed to nearly 300 feet and landed safely.
Blue Origin has said the test flights will grow in duration and altitude over the next three years, with as many as 52 commercial flights, the goal of the project, possibly beginning in 2010, according to published reports.
Then Bezos returns to his call for job applications:
We are particularly looking for experienced propulsion engineers and experienced turbomachinery engineers, as well as a senior leader to head our turbopump group. Folks with turbopump or propulsion experience on large, modern, cryogenic engines such as the RS-68 are of particular interest.
Another high priority for us is an experienced leader for our structures team. Structures experience on large, modern vehicles such as Delta IV or Atlas V is of particular interest.
We are searching to fill other positions as well. Please check out our careers page on this website. Feel free to send a note and resume to our head of recruiting, Walt McCleery at wmccleery(at)blueorigin.com.
Bezos closes with the motto of his new space venture, Gradatim Ferociter!, Latin for "by degrees fiercely."
So if you're an aerospace engineer looking for a new challenge, this New Year's call for recruits might just be your ticket to the high frontier.