• Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos send space tourists into space for a few minutes
• “Inspiration 4” by SpaceX sends people on a three-day trip into space
• Famous physicist sees one of the three competitors as the clear winner
Branson and Bezos offer space tourists only a brief treat
In mid-July, the British billionaire Richard Branson flew into space on the “VSS Unity” spacecraft of his company Virgin Galactic, to an altitude of around 86 kilometers. After a little more than three minutes in weightlessness, the “VSS Unity” started to enter the earth’s atmosphere and Branson landed safely at the Spaceport America spaceport. Branson succeeded in a PR coup against Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who had advertised his flight into space on July 20 in the weeks before – and then Branson came and flew nine days earlier.
As announced, Jeff Bezos started his short excursion into space on July 20th. On board the spacecraft “New Shepard” of his company Blue Origin were besides Bezos himself his brother, an 82-year-old former US pilot and an 18-year-old Dutchman who had received the flight as a gift. That month, Bezos took 90-year-old Canadian Star Trek actor William Shatner on the second manned flight of the New Shepard capsule. The trip into space lasted around ten minutes. This makes Shatner the oldest person ever to travel to space.
SpaceX wants to bring people to Mars – and beyond
Tesla boss Elon Musks also sent the first space tourists into space with his company SpaceX. “Inspiration 4” started in September with the founder and managing director of the financial services provider Shift4 Payments, Jared Isaacman, and three companions on a three-day trip into space – while the competition, in the form of Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, has only given space tourists a short one so far Pleasure with immersion in weightlessness. Their flights just approached the Karman Line at around 100 kilometers, which is considered the boundary between aerospace. With the “Inspiration 4”, however, the first manned mission without professional astronauts started, which went far beyond the limit of space – according to SpaceX, it was even the furthest human flight since the end of the Apollo lunar program .
In addition, SpaceX has already brought several astronaut crews into orbit and made great strides in the development of the “Starship” rocket system, which is supposed to bring the first humans to earth’s natural satellites since the moon landing in 1972 – and then at some point to Mars and beyond. “We are honored to be part of NASA’s Artemis program to land the first woman and next man safely on the lunar surface as the first of many, many more people to follow,” SpaceX writes on its website .
This is how a famous physicist classifies the space flights of the three billionaires
Among other things, the famous American physicist Michio Kaku sees these differences as the reason why it is actually not as close a race between Musk, Bezos’ and Branson’s companies as it is sometimes portrayed in the media – in his opinion, Elon Musk has very clearly with SpaceX ahead of the game. In an interview with Fox Business, Kaku said, “It’s not the head-to-head race the media would like to portray, you know, the battle of billionaires. SpaceX has a huge lead over Blue Origin.” He justified this with what SpaceX has already achieved: “They have orbited the earth several times, they are going to the space station. In fact, the last launch they had even passed the Hubble space telescope; that is how far it went into space. Also, Elon Musk sells tickets to the moon, and a Japanese billionaire actually bought all the tickets for the first flight to the moon. ” According to Kaku, it’s no longer just about “going up for three minutes and coming back down. No, we’re talking about the moon now.”
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SpaceX, Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic: which space company is ahead?