Flights from Branson and Bezos: 100 kilometers high, but miles away from real space travel

Indeed, these flights are more likely to be seen as satisfying the ambitious ambitions of multibillionaires. Virgin Galactic was founded by Richard Branson, who made his first million with the record label Virgin Records and later made a lot of money with the airline Virgin Atlantic Air. Blue Origin is the hobby of the currently richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, who made his fortune with the online mail order company Amazon and is eager to venture into space.

While Richard Branson does not reveal any far-reaching plans for a penetration into space, Jeff Bezos raves about huge space stations in space, on which millions of people will one day live. His ideas for the next few decades are more reminiscent of the science fiction series “Star Trek” than of a realistic foray into space. Bezos is developing a large launch vehicle called the New Glenn, the performance of which is reminiscent of the Saturn V launch vehicles of the Apollo lunar program in the 1960s to 1970s. However, Blue Origin has not made any significant headway here.

If you really want to go into space and thereby want to be recognized as a real astronaut, you have to dig deeper into your pockets – and meet the considerably higher demands on your physical condition. This is where another multi-billionaire, as yet unmentioned, comes into play, but whose space ambitions have advanced much further with the financial support of NASA. We’re talking about Elon Musk, who is considered the bitter personal rival of Jeff Bezos. His company SpaceX is currently the only commercial provider able to transport people to earth orbit with the space capsule “Crew Dragon”, apart from the offer of the Russian state space agency Roskosmos with the Soyuz capsules.

Airfare costs of 50 million dollars per passenger are under discussion, and multi-day flights into orbit are being offered. A flight to the International Space Station ISS with a stay of several days is also possible for an additional price surcharge. The first launches could take place as early as the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022.

The price tag alone shows how much more work is involved in a real space flight. The clientele here is likely to be quite manageable, also seen worldwide, because not many super-rich are so interested in space that they will book a flight at their own expense.

Elon Musk wants to use SpaceX’s revenue from passenger flights and business with its Starlink satellite mega-constellation to at least partially finance its far-reaching visions. He has dreamed of a life on Mars since his youth. Thus, just like with competitor Bezos, a reusable launcher in the Saturn V performance class is already in development, with the first test flights with simple prototypes imminent in the next few months.

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Flights from Branson and Bezos: 100 kilometers high, but miles away from real space travel