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Blue Origin’s New Shepard Rocket Launches a New Line of Business

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West Texas is not quite like the moon. But it can serve as a handy stand-in.

On Tuesday, Blue Origin, the rocket company started by Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, launched — and landed — its small New Shepard rocket and capsule for the 13th time as part of tests to verify safety before any passengers climb aboard.

One day, this will be New Shepard’s main business: flying well-to-do people above the 62-mile altitude generally considered the beginning of outer space where they will experience a few minutes of weightlessness as the capsule arcs.

Blue Origin is not a new company — Mr. Bezos founded it in 2000 — but for most of its existence, it operated in secret without generating much revenue. Three years ago, Mr. Bezos said he was selling a billion dollars a year in Amazon stock to finance Blue Origin’s research and development. And he has declared broad ambitions for its business, such as competing with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and others in the orbital launch business, building a moon lander for NASA astronauts and eventually making it possible for millions of people to live and work in space.

But the cargo of Tuesday’s launch from a test site near Van Horn, Texas, shows that the company is finding a more modest business in the short term: turning the reusable New Shepard rocket and capsule into an effective, and profitable, platform for testing new technologies and performing scientific experiments.

“It was fantastic,” said Erika Wagner, Blue Origin’s payload sales director, who was in West Texas. “We were watching across the valley and watching the rocket climb up.”

Tucked under the collar at the top of the booster on Tuesday’s launch were prototypes of sensors that could help NASA astronauts safely reach the lunar surface

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Business of Football: Dak Prescott’s injury won’t significantly hurt his career earnings

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In the aftermath of Dak Prescott’s bone-chilling injury and reaction on Sunday, many have asked me about his business decision to turn down a multi-year offer from the Cowboys to instead play on a one-year contract with no security beyond it. Here are some thoughts.

We do not know what the Cowboys were offering, but we do know from their contract history that they prefer long deals—the longer the better—with guarantees only in the low-risk early years of the deal. They have previously signed star players to contracts with lengths up to 10 years, which are essentially one- or two-year contracts with team options following that. Amid that landscape, the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes agreed to a 12-year deal, one that only secures $63 million over the next three years (Ryan Tannehill is making $91 million over the same time frame). Wanting both a better deal from the Cowboys and more optionality in his career, Prescott chose to play in 2020 on the one-year franchise tag number of $31 million.

Yes, if Prescott were never to play again or to find himself in a non-leveraged position next March and taking a below-market “prove it” contract, he would have been better off taking whatever the Cowboys offered last year, giving him more than the $31 million guarantee that he has. But ask yourself: Is that really the most likely scenario here? It is not.

Much more likely is that this upcoming February we will be in the same place we were last February: with Prescott a pending free agent and the Cowboys having to 1) negotiate a long-term contract; 2) re-apply the franchise tag, or 3) set him free into a marketplace desperate for young and proven quarterbacks. And my sense is that, as long as his recovery and rehabilitation has

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Game, Set And Match. The Business Masters Where European Are The World Champions

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With his 13th French Open tennis title at Roland Garros this weekend, Spain’s Rafael Nadal has equalled Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam men’s titles. Croatia’s Novak Djokovic, with 17 Grand Slams to his name will need at least another year if he is to catch up on his rivals.

Nadal won his first French Open tennis title in 2005. In the past 15 years, few things in the world of sport have been as sure. When it comes to men’s tennis, Europeans are the Masters of the Court.

There is a similar pattern of European domination in the Masters of Management (MiM). This pre-experience business degree has seen tremendous growth in the last decade, as college seniors and those a year or two out of university look to broaden their skills sets and strengthen their networks rather than wait to do an MBA. With the current economic downturn, many of the leading business schools attending the CentreCourt Specialized Masters Festival on October 13 & 14 are reporting record application volume for this often shorter and more affordable alternative.

In the same year that Rafael Nadal won his first Grand Slam, the Financial Times published its first Masters in Management ranking. HEC Paris took the top spot ahead of French rival, ESCP Business School. There were only 25 schools in the ranking, all of them from Europe (at the time the CEMS global alliance was predominantly made up of European schools).

Fifteen years later, and the FT MiM ranking now includes 90 institutions from across the globe, and sees the University of St Gallen crowned #1 for

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Amherst budget chief says Boston business groups’ state education funding report guillotines local school district

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AMHERST – A proposal by two Boston-based business advocacy groups to alter how the state’s Chapter 70 local aid to school districts is disbursed would take a meat cleaver to the local school district, according to the town’s budget chief Sean Mangano.

Nearly $8 million of state education aid would be lopped off the revenue sheets for Amherst school system and Amherst-Pelham regional district, he said.

The two business groups co-wrote a 23-page report – saying more Chapter 70 school aid should go to the least wealthy cities and towns, and less to more affluent communities.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education jointly wrote the research paper – Ryan Flynn from the Alliance and James Sutherland of the Chamber.

The authors acknowledged assistance from a small group of experts.

Those include two men recently in senior leadership positions at the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Both are Chapter 70 whizzes, and oversaw the financial dimension of it – former Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson and former Administrator of School Finance, Roger Hatch, who departed the DESE in 2016 after 36 years.

Wulfson, who was also the acting DESE commissioner for a period of time, retired in April after 25 years with the DESE that included time as the agency’s chief financial officer. Previously, he was Director of Administration, at the Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services for 8 years, and for 5 years Chief management analyst at Office of Massachusetts Inspector General back in the 1980s.

In a memorandum to Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman last week, Mangano wrote:

“Amherst schools (secondary and elementary) would lose appx. $7.85 million of Chapter 70 funding or 14% of their combined budgets if the funding formula was changed as advocated by the business groups.

He said

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Business of Football: Big Ten returns; Tyrod Taylor’s legal case

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Before getting to the usual column, a word about today’s breaking news of positive COVID-19 tests shutting down team activities in the NFL:

Despite all the vigilance that the NFL and its players have shown, it was inevitable that COVID-19 would rear its head with a group of players and/or team personnel. That has now happened with the Titans and, by extension, their opponent on Sunday, the Vikings. It is way too early for alarm, as this “abundance of caution” (keeping teams out of their facilities) is what we have all prepared for. But as I said throughout the offseason, playing through the pandemic is no sure thing. The NFL has powered through with confidence since March: Free agency, the draft and training camp all went full speed ahead with necessary testing and precautions. And the first month of the season seemed surprisingly normal, with the biggest COVID-19 story line being whether coaches should be fined for not wearing masks properly. Yet here we are, and it is naive to think we won’t be here again. As the theme of this and so many of my other columns says, the business of sports usually wins, and it has won with the NFL … so far. Time will tell going forward.

Now where were we?

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News moves fast in the business of football, as developments in this unprecedented and unique season amid COVID-19 continue. We begin with a stunning—although not surprising—reversal in college football.

Big Ten business over all

In August, the Big Ten surprisingly (to me) prioritized the health and safety of its players and staff over economics by opting not to play in 2020. The decision resonated as 1) other Power 5 conferences (the SEC, Big 12 and ACC) reached the opposite decision; and 2) the economic impact

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