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Jeff Bezos Can and Will Put More Money in Space Travel Than Most Countries

Jeff Bezos is better known for building the e-commerce empire of Amazon than his entrepreneurial work at rocket-builder Blue Origin — but Morgan Stanley says that may change.

Bezos pours about $1 billion of his Amazon stock into his space venture each year, with Blue Origin expected to begin competing directly with Elon Musk’s SpaceX in 2020. Morgan Stanley estimated Bezos’ Amazon shares are worth about $160 billion — in other words, “equal to around 16 years worth of NASA expenditures on Space exploration,” the firm said.

Amazon shares briefly passed $1 trillion in market cap for the first time on Sept. 4, joining Apple as the only publicly traded U.S. company above the benchmark. Analysts cite the company’s ever-diversifying portfolio as a value driver.

Bezos has said publicly that Blue Origin is “the most important work” he’s doing, Morgan Stanley noted. He also has said there should be “a permanent human settlement on one of the poles of the moon” and thinks it’s not just time for humans to return to the moon, it’s “time to stay.”

Blue Origin is headed quickly toward commercial operations as the company nears the end of testing for several of its major projects. Its BE-4 engine, the thunderous staple of Blue Origin’s propulsion business, has demonstrated that it “works, and works well”. A rocket is being built to offer tourists a ride to space, bringing passengers in a capsule up past 350,000 feet, where they would spend about 10 minutes floating in zero gravity before returning back to Earth.

In light of Bezos’ vision for Blue Origin and the future of the space industry, Morgan Stanley believes “investors cannot be too early in at least understanding this rapidly evolving topic,” Jonas said.

Space remains in focus at Morgan Stanley, as it tracks over 100 growing companies. Morgan Stanley sees that economy growing to more than $1.1 trillion by 2040, driven by the need for a space-based telecommunications network as wireless data usage increases. The vast majority of private space investment has come as the government has reeled in its spending in recent years.