Also, Blue Origin has said repeatedly in recent months that it aims to launch a human to space aboard New Shepard for the first time later this year, paving the way for paying customers to experience microgravity.

Bezos' company is also building a bigger rocket, New Glenn, that'll compete with orbital class rockets like the SpaceX Falcon 9 to deliver commercial satellites and other large payloads to orbit.

Blue Origin is rapidly expanding its footprint at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it's manufacturing New Glenn on land leased from NASA. The first launch of Blue Origin's big rocket could come as soon as 2021.

As part of this ongoing space race, SpaceX, Amazon and others are planning to send into orbit thousands of satellites that'll one day be able to beam broadband internet to millions of people around the world. SpaceX's system is called Starlink, and Amazon's, which was first revealed last month, is dubbed Project Kuiper. Blue Origin, meanwhile, is partnering with satellite operator Telesat on yet another internet satellite project.

Over the past year, Bezos has spoken publicly at a handful of notable gatherings, including a Wired conference in San Francisco, the Economic Club in Washington, DC, and the Yale Club in New York. Still, he's rarely hosted his own press events in recent years. One of the last times he took the stage for his own announcement was in 2014 for the failed Fire Phone.

Next month, he's expected to speak at his new re:MARS science and tech conference in Las Vegas.

His appearance in DC on Thursday comes after a rocky start to the year, with his divorce from his longtime wife, MacKenzie, quickly turning into a gossipy tabloid controversy that included him accusing the National Enquirer of blackmail.