Work-ready alumnus helps Washington’s space industry grow

By Alyssa Patrick, Office of Economic Development

blue-origin-logoKENT, Wash. – Not many people can say they helped make history in their first job, but Washington State University alumnus Ron Bliesner can.

While a student, Ron Bliesner, center, examines the cryogenic chamber in the lab of WSU’s Jake Leachman, left.

When the New Shepard became the first rocket to vertically land back on Earth after a trip to space, Bliesner was cheering with his Blue Origin colleagues at a watch party. He is part of the fluid systems group at Blue Origin, the Jeff Bezos’ company headquartered in Kent that is working on technologies that will one day enable people to live and work in space.

In November, the company had its first successful landing of New Shepard, an early test of a rocket that will take you and me to space for four-minutes of weightlessness. The rocket made history again in January when it safely landed after a second trip to space, making it the first proven reusable rocket.

“It’s surreal and humbling,” Bliesner says of working for Blue Origin. “I remember watching the vehicle emerge from the giant cloud of dust and thinking that this was the dawn of a new era not only for space flight, but for the human race as a whole.”

Read all of this blog by Alyssa Patrick, WSU Office of Economic Development, at