For space enthusiasts who have long dreamed of heading into the final frontier, the wait of decades could come to an end this July. In fact, billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are at the cusp of heralding in a new space age — one in which spaceflight comes as close to ordinary humans as it ever has — if they successfully
pull off their trips to the edge of space onboard machines created by their own companies. Amazon founder Bezos was the first to announce his mission, set for July 20, but Virgin boss Branson has decided to pip him to the trip with his own now lined up for July 11. Here’s what you need to know about the billionaires’ planned tryst with the great unknown.
Why Are Branson, Bezos’s Space Trips Important?
Space has long been a province with extremely limited access. It has mostly been trained space travellers who have ever been there with just a handful of countries having the capacity anyway to send humans to space and bring them back safely. But the digital revolution and technological leaps have seen a new class of explorers come to the fore.
The likes of Bezos, Branson and Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk represent a category of billionaire space enthusiasts who have devoted their considerable wealth to universalise space travel, or at least make it as universal as six-figure or more ticket price would allow it to be. Even so, the approach for these ultra-rich space entrepreneurs has been to make space travel as economical as possible and they have specifically pursued technologies that would dramatically bring down the costs of sending a crewed vessel up into space and getting it safely back down to Earth.