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Rival billionaires both play roles in MethaneSAT

Billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are usually rivals on the final frontier, but they both have a role to play in MethaneSAT, a privately backed satellite mission aimed at monitoring methane emissions.

Last November, the Bezos Earth Fund made a $100 million grant to the Environmental Defense Fund to support the satellite’s completion and launch. That grant was part of a $791 million round that Bezos said was “just the beginning of my $10 billion commitment” to address challenges brought on by climate change.

Now MethaneSAT LLC — a subsidiary of Environmental Defense Fund — is announcing that it’s signed a contract with Musk’s SpaceX to send the satellite into orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket by as early as October 2022.

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Jeff Bezos names rocket recovery ship after his mom

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk named his rocket recovery vessels after science-fiction spaceships, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stayed closer to home for the christening of the ship that his Blue Origin space venture will use for at-sea rocket landings.

In an Instagram post, Bezos said he and his siblings surprised their mom, Jacklyn Bezos, by revealing that the 600-foot recovery ship would be named after her. A video included in the post shows Jacklyn Bezos smashing a bottle of bubbly against the hull, then waving to a cheering crowd.

The landing platform vessel has had several names during its more than two decades of existence. For most of that time, it was known as the Stena Freighter. But when Blue Origin purchased the ship in 2018 and had it brought to Florida for refurbishing, it was clear that it’d be only a matter of time before a new name was painted on its prow.

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SpaceX’s Starship flight ends with a bang — and bravos

SpaceX put its Starship super-rocket through its first high-altitude test today — and although the flight ended in a fiery crash, the performance was impressive enough to draw congratulations from Jeff Bezos, who’s locked in a multibillion-dollar rivalry with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

“Anybody who knows how hard this stuff is is impressed by today’s Starship test,” Bezos, who’s the CEO of Amazon and the founder of the Blue Origin space venture, said in an Instagram post. “Big congrats to the whole SpaceX team. I’m confident they’ll be back at it soon.”

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Jeff Bezos makes a moonshot prediction

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos heralded progress on the development of the rocket engine that’s destined for use on the lunar lander that his Blue Origin space venture is building — but he also offered a glimpse into his crystal ball for future moon missions.

“This is the engine that will take the first woman to the surface of the moon,” he wrote in an Instagram posting about the hydrogen-fueled BE-7 engine.

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Elon Musk starts another catfight with Jeff Bezos

Another tweet, another catfight: Billionaire CEO Elon Musk has once again accused super-billionaire Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos of being a copycat.

This time, Musk took aim at Amazon’s $1.2 billion acquisition of Zoox, a venture focusing on self-driving cars that could compete with Tesla, the car company that Musk heads.

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Tech CEOs advise White House on virus impact

Jeff Bezos and Satya Nadella
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. (Space Foundation / Microsoft Photos)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and President Donald Trump aren’t exactly the best of friends, but that didn’t stop the White House from including the world’s richest individual on a list of industry leaders working with Trump to bring about a “Great American Economic Revival.”

Bezos, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson are among the members of industry groups that were created this week to address the economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, the White House said in an April 14 statement.

Nadella and Bezos are on the tech group, alongside the CEOs of Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Salesforce and other leading companies. Johnson is listed with a different group, focusing on the food and beverage industry.

There are more than 200 representatives in all on sector-specific teams, ranging from health care industry executives to sports executives and “thought leaders” including trickle-down economist Art Laffer.

“These bipartisan groups of American leaders will work together with the White House to chart the path forward toward a future of unparalleled American prosperity,” the White House said.

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Jeff Bezos pledges to help WHO with test kits

WHO director general with Jeff Bezos
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus conducts a videoconference with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (Courtesy of Jeff Bezos via Instagram)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the World Health Organization’s director-general are trading ideas on how to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control, using tools ranging from Amazon Web Services’ firepower in cloud computing and artificial intelligence to distribution channels for coronavirus test kits.

Bezos recapped today’s talk with Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in an Instagram post, featuring a screengrab of Bezos’ videoconference view with the billionaire’s own visage in the upper right corner of the frame.

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Jeff Bezos launches $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund

Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at the Amazon Spheres in 2018. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says he’s launching a $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund that will issue grants aimed at addressing climate change — a move that comes less than a month after hundreds of Amazon employees criticized what they saw as the company’s weak commitment to tackling the issue.

Bezos, who’s the world’s richest individual with a net worth estimated at nearly $130 billion, unveiled his philanthropic initiative in an Instagram post.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” he wrote. “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share.”

He said the first grants to scientists, activists and non-governmental organizations would be issued this summer.

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Alexa, who’s your favorite Star Trek captain?

When the actor who plays the boss’ favorite Star Trek captain drops in at the office, it’s best to agree with the boss. Even though Amazon’s Alexa is just a computerized voice assistant, she clearly understands that much.

That’s basically how things went down today when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos dropped in at the Seattle office where comedy writers come up with bon mots for Alexa … with Patrick Stewart, who plays Captain Jean-Luc Picard, at his side.

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Jeff Bezos announces Blue Moon lander team

Jeff Bezos
m Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos discusses his space ambitions during a fireside chat at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington, D.C. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos says his Blue Origin space venture is heading up a team of top space companies — including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper — to build a landing system to take NASA astronauts to the moon as early as 2024.

“This is a national team for a national priority,” Bezos said here at the International Astronautical Congress, where he received the International Astronomical Federation’s first Excellence in Industry Award on Blue Origin’s behalf.

Blue Origin would serve as the prime contractor for the lander project, with its Blue Moon lander serving as the heart of the system.

Bezos said Northrop Grumman, which built the lunar lander for the Apollo program a half-century ago, would be responsible for the orbital transfer vehicle that would take astronauts from a moon-orbiting Gateway platform to a lower lunar orbit.

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