Did Jeff Bezos Step Down From Amazon so He Could Travel Into Space?

Kori Williams - Author

Jul. 6 2021, Published 2:59 p.m. ET

jeff bezos
Source: Getty Images

At this point, Jeff Bezos is synonymous with the online powerhouse Amazon, but he's changing his role in the company in a big way. As of July 5, 2021, he's no longer the CEO. From now on, Andy Jassy will take on that role, but Jeff will be the new executive chair and is still the company's largest shareholder, according to CBS.

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But why did Jeff step down in the first place? In addition to running Amazon, he's been in charge of different companies over the years. Plus, he and Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, are involved in a new-age space race.

Why did Jeff Bezos step down?

Even though Jeff is known for Amazon, he's got a bunch of other things to occupy his time. In a blog post to the Amazon staff, he said so. "In the Exec Chair role, I intend to focus my energies and attention on new products and early initiatives," the post says. He goes on to say that he'll still be involved with things having to do with Amazon, but he lists other ventures that he's involved in that he'll have more time for moving forward.

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Jeff Bezos
Source: Getty Images

In addition to his work at Amazon, Jeff owns the Day 1 Fund, which invests in non-profits in all kinds of areas from youth centers across the country to homelessness programs, and the Bezos Earth Fund that works to end climate-based issues. On top of that, he also owns The Washington Post and the space exploration company Blue Origin.

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When is Jeff Bezos going to space?

According to the Associated Press, Jeff is planning to head to space on July 20, 2021. He chose this date in particular because it's the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. In this launch, he will be traveling into orbit with his brother along with the winner of a $28 million charity auction, as well as his "honored guest" Wally Funk, who is one of the last surviving members of the Mercury 13 space exploration group.

But if Richard Branson has anything to say about it, he's making it to space before Jeff. The AP article also said that just hours after Jeff announced that he would be accompanied by Wally Funk into space on July 20, Richard said he wants to head out the week before.

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Now, Richard says he and his space exploration company, Virgin Galactic, will take off on July 11. There's even a countdown on its website. Galactic plans to launch a spacecraft roughly 55 miles into orbit while Blue Origin is planning a 66-mile trip. AP says that both of these distances are considered the "edge of space." As of now, Jeff hasn't responded to Richard publicly.

For whatever reason, Elon Musk has chosen not to get involved in this space race even though he has a space exploration company of his own. Space X also plans on taking paying customers into space just like its competitors, but the company hasn't announced a launch date for July.

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