When Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos met with reporters to discuss the new Kindle Fire HDX tablets, NBC News took the opportunity to quiz him about his other venture, the space start-up Blue Origin.
The company was recently in the news because it's fighting with another billionaire's space firm over a retired NASA shuttle launch pad.
"Our proposal is to build (at the NASA facility) a multi-use launch pad so that we would share it," Bezos said. The purpose would be to launch orbital vehicles, for instance to send crews and supplies to the International Space Station, but allow other private space firms to schedule their own launches.
"We would launch our vehicle there in 2018," he said. The alternate proposal is for Elon Musk's SpaceX to take control of it and — according to the most recent reports — not share it with other companies.
Blue Origin, Bezos' firm, is also building spaceships capable of vertical takeoff and vertical landing that would travel only as far as suborbital space. The purpose would be space tourism, the sort that Virgin Galactic has promised.
Since Virgin founder Richard Branson has declared his intention to travel into space, we asked Bezos, in a separate session, if he'd ever join the tourists in one of his rockets. (And if so, would he bring a Kindle Fire tablet along?)
"Absolutely. I definitely want to go," he said, "and now that you've suggested it, it sounds like a terrific idea to take a Kindle Fire with me."
The trouble might be finding some reading time. "There's no boring part of going into suborbital space, I have a feeling," he told NBC News.
— With reporting from NBC News' Kate Snow
First published September 24 2013, 10:00 PM