Employees report a rare round of layoffs at Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture

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Bloe Origin marquee
The marquee of Blue Origin’s HQ in Kent, Wash., glows on a rainy morning. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

Several employees at Kent, Wash.-based Blue Origin are reporting that they’ve been laid off, marking a rare turnabout in the rapid growth of Jeff Bezos’ space venture.

The reduction in force appears to be focused in the areas of human resources and talent acquisition, based on employees’ postings to LinkedIn.

TechCrunch’s Aria Alamalhodaei, who reported the layoff trend on X / Twitter, said it looked as if “some (but not all) folks were given the opportunity to find another role” within the privately held company.

Micah Thornton, a production control specialist at Blue Origin, wrote on LinkedIn that “several people from the Blue Origin Space Human Resource/Talent Acquisition team have been let go due to downsizing.”

Several other employees wrote that they were laid off on Tuesday and are seeking new roles elsewhere. We’ve reached out to Blue Origin and will be updating this story with anything further that we can pass along.

Founded in 2000, Blue Origin’s employment profile has been trending sharply upward in recent years, due to projects that include the suborbital New Shepard program (currently grounded after a launch anomaly that occurred a year ago), the BE-4 rocket engine and the orbital-class New Glenn rocket, the Blue Moon lunar lander and the Orbital Reef space station.

The company’s workforce tally was less than 1,000 as recently as 2018. Two years ago, that count was reported at nearly 4,000 employees, and the figure rose to 6,000 by July 2022. Blue Origin’s current number of employees — including workers in Kent as well as in Alabama, California, Florida, Texas, the Washington, D.C., area and other locales — is said to have hit nearly 11,000.

Despite the newly reported layoffs, Blue Origin is continuing to hire employees for other types of jobs, primarily in technical fields. The company’s career website currently lists more than 440 open positions.

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