Jeff Bezos went to space on Tuesday onboard his spacecraft, New Shepard. Also aboard were Mark Bezos, his brother, Wally Funk, a veteran astronaut, and Oliver Daemen, a young Dutch student. Bezos and fellow billionaires: Richard Branson and Elon Musk, are championing a new age of space tourism.
New Shepard departed at 9:12 AM EDT from a launch site in Van Horn, Texas. A video of the flight shows Jeff Bezos and his crew floating in the capsule. They spent 4 minutes in outer space. And the whole journey lasted a little over 10 minutes. “My expectations were high and they were dramatically exceeded,” Bezos said in a post-flight interview.
Space tourism is uncharted territory, but it appears to have great potential. So it’s no surprise that acclaimed investors like Bezos will take a gamble on it. But what’s the take of other billionaires on the newfound industry? Let’s find out.
How Do These Billionaires Feel About Space Tourism?
“I think we are at the dawn of a new era in commercial space exploration”
Elon Musk is a well-known space geek. He’s invested billions in his space tourism company SpaceX, the first-ever private company to send astronauts to orbit. Elon has said that he believes humans can colonize Mars one day.
“I’m not a Mars person…I don’t think rockets are the solution. I’m not going to pay a lot of money [for a space tour] because my foundation can buy measles vaccines and save a life for $1,000.”
The billionaire founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is very vocal about a lot of issues. He’s shown a huge interest in the development of vaccines, sustainable energy, and others. But he’s not a big fan of space tourism, not by a long shot. Gates is a member of the school of thought that says “let’s stay right here on earth and repair our planet, that’s what matters.”
“It would depend on the premium.”
When the billionaire CEO of Berkshire Hathaway was asked if he’d like to invest in space tourism (specifically in SpaceX), he seemed unsure. “I would probably have a somewhat different rate if Elon was on board, or not on board,” he said. Buffett, also known as the Oracle of Omaha, is one of the world’s most successful investors. But it seems he’d rather stick with tried and tested industries.
“I have dreamt of [space tourism] since I was a kid, but honestly nothing can prepare you for the view of earth from space.”
The British billionaire has always made his love for space tourism known. On July 11, Branson made history when he launched a Virgin Galactic spacecraft to the edge of space. He aims to “pioneer the next generation of reusable space vehicles.”
The billionaire space tourism race is on. And Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos have taken the lead. However, many are calling for a focus on our planet; a focus on climate change and such, rather than extraterrestrial planets. But where do you stand? Do you think Jeff Bezos’s trip to space is a good stepping stone? Let me know!