A new push for space tourism seems to be intensifying as some of the world’s richest entrepreneurs start a fresh space race with their most recent flights in privately funded rocket ships and space planes.
Although industrial activities aren’t anything new, the upsurge of billionaire-backed companies trying to get to the moon has injected new life into the commercial space race.
In May 2020, Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the first privately owned firm to send explorers into space. On July 11, 2020, Sir Richard Branson made his way into space in his Virgin Galactic space plane, closely followed by Jeff Bezos onboard the Shepherd rocket ship. These undertakings don’t just market tremendous technological features but are a great sign that a completely new space economy is close.
How The Space Race Started?
Jeff Bezos announced on June 7 that he, the winner of an auction that went for £20 million and his brother Mark would travel into space onboard his new Shepherd spacecraft on July 20. The spacecraft took off from Texas. The team experienced a few minutes of weightlessness during their trip to the edge of space.
Things became interesting on July 1 after Richard Branson announced he would be traveling to the suborbital space on board Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip on July 11. The spacecraft would take off from New Mexico, US. A spacecraft is a carrier airplane, which reaches a higher altitude and releases small spacecraft known as the VSS Unity. The small spacecraft then fires the engines to reach the suborbital space before drifting back to earth.
Is The Race For Space A Big Deal?
Except for satisfying the egos of the wealthiest people on earth and winning a few bragging rights, the race for space isn’t a big deal. Many humans have over the years traveled to space and even beyond. The only difference about the latest trips is that it’s the first time people are heading to the edge of space in their own spacecraft. The super-rich hopes to attract ordinary people to travel to space.
Who Is Winning The Space Race?
Musk, Branson, and Bezos have over the years invested billions of pounds into their space explorations, each billionaire promising to take paying customers on trips into the space – and it will cost people lots of money to be part of it.
Jeff Bezos has previously said that they are considering charging people about £144,000 for the trip. However, it was reported that Branson’s Virgin Galactic already has over 600 ticket reservations, priced at about £180,000. The company expects to commence the full commercial service in 2022, upon which they will eventually cut the prices to about £29,000.
Unlike Bezos’s Blue Origin and Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Musk’s SpaceX has previously taken its crew to an International Space Station and they are planning to take a civilian crew to orbit next month. Also, Musk has said SpaceX would fly Yasaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire around the moon.
The Space Race is back on – but who will win? (2021, July 16). the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/jul/16/the-space-race-is-back-on-but-who-will-win
MacKenzie Sigalos,Jordan Smith,Natalie Zhang. (n.d.). Why Elon Musk is winning the billionaire Space Race in 2021: CNBC after hours. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/01/why-elon-musk-is-winning-the-billionaire-space-race-in-2021.html
Wattles, J. (2021, July 20). Which billionaire is winning the Space Race? It depends. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2021/07/14/tech/jeff-bezos-richard-branson-elon-musk-space-race-scn/index.html