Blue Origin explores the final frontier of merchandising

Jeff Bezos’ privately held Blue Origin space venture is starting to look more like the other company he founded: Amazon.

During the run-up to Dec. 11’s scheduled launch of the venture’s New Shepard suborbital spaceship, you could order a limited-edition Blue Origin sweatshirt created for spaceflier Michael Strahan’s brand, watch Strahan and Bezos mix it up on Thursday Night Football — and look forward to “Shatner in Space,” an Amazon Prime documentary about Star Trek captain William Shatner’s flight in October.

For now, the revenue from merchandising and media projects is certain to pale in comparison with the fares that Blue Origin’s suborbital spaceflight customers are paying, and with the multimillion-dollar awards that Blue Origin is getting from NASA for other space projects.

Nevertheless, the crossovers illustrate how one of Bezos’ big businesses could leverage marketing expertise from the other.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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