Amazon's chief Jeff Bezos wants to build low-cost infrastructure that can help the next generation become space entrepreneurs.
"It's the most important work I'm doing," said Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, at a gala organized by the Partnership for Public Service in Washington D.C on Tuesday.
Bezos, who has a net worth of around $161.7 billion, is also the founder of private spaceflight services company Blue Origin, which is developing reusable rockets. Industry stakeholders claim that reusable rockets might lead to tremendous cost savings in space ventures.
"I think Blue Origin is incredibly important," Bezos said at the gala, where he was presented with an award recognizing his efforts to advance important fields including space exploration.
There are plenty of energy and resources in the solar system for future generations, he explained, but most of that would be inaccessible unless the cost of space travel — currently amounting to billions of dollars — can be reduced.
In the last two decades, internet entrepreneurs have built very successful technology companies. He pointed to how Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg built the social networking giant with his co-founders from his dorm room.
"Two kids in their dorm room created Facebook, which has a half-trillion-dollar market cap. It's a giant company," Bezos said. "Two kids in their dorm room today can't do anything big in space. It's not practical. The price of admission is just too high."
That's where Blue Origin can come in and do much of the "heavy lifting" and create low-cost space infrastructure, said the Amazon chief. That includes building reusable rockets that can "dramatically" reduce cost.
"If you can get that heavy-lifting done in a good way — a real operable, reusable launch vehicle — you'll set the next generation up to be space entrepreneurs," he said, adding that he wants to "sort of be the UPS or the FedEx or whatever" for space travel.
He alluded to how Amazon relied for decades on the extensive transportation network already built by logistics companies such as UPS to deliver goods.
Bezos is investing heavily in Blue Origin, pouring about $1 billion of his Amazon stock into the rocket venture each year.
Last month, the space company landed a major rocket deal and won a contract to supply the next-generation engines for the massive rocket United Launch Alliance is developing.
— CNBC's Michael Sheetz contributed to this report.