6 thoughts on “The Billionaire Space Race”

  1. I question whether or not Bezos wants to “further humanity”. Ethics and morality are not virtues he exudes and he is concerned with money too. But I also don’t think having the “right” motivations are important, just like meaningless PR stunts aren’t important, the important things are what you are doing in space.

    Musk, much like China, is focused on the game he is playing and ignoring distractions while Bezos and Branson are each playing different games with apparently trivial objectives. In the future, everything will be different and the Bransons of the world who see market opportunities will be just as important as the Musks and the Bezos types might eventually get around to doing something and will still be reviled for their corruption.

  2. “But I also don’t think having the “right” motivations are important, just like meaningless PR stunts aren’t important, the important things are what you are doing in space.”

    Exactly. The people who make space finally pay for itself enormously don’t have be altruistic nice guys; any more than Henry Ford, John D Rockefeller, Thomas Edison etc were. Like the point of the old J.E. Pournelle analog story “Spirals”.

  3. Suborbital joyrides are just the 21st century version of barnstorming. That being said, there is something to the idea of generating excitement in space by introducing the average citizen to what is now possible. If you can get the public on your side, it might make it harder for the government to regulate you to death.

    As to Musk, I doubt he’s feeling any spaceship envy. He already has a working manned space program, and is well on his way to developing a fully reusable spacecraft capable of orbital flight and beyond. When the time is right, he’ll enjoy a better view from space than either Bezos or Branson can offer.

  4. “Musk is said to look down on the other men because he doesn’t see their endeavors as being as serious as his.”

    Getting people living on Mars is pretty high- higher than people staying at government Mars base with the plan of leaving.
    Let’s think about NASA crew going to Mars base and coming back to Earth after few year.
    Say one of them wants to be US president- it seems like a good bet.
    Now, media like to be obsessed with the unimportant, but can’t see how they can not be endless transfixed with going to Mars.
    As a beginning we going to get lunar crewed landing, so that some news, and crew come back, and they discuss moon, but they know they should be hyping going to Mars, and then it’s possible it doesn’t take much time to put crew on Mars. Don’t the media have talk about Mars every week for next several years.
    It seems politicans are going have get involved somehow with going to Mars, in order to be a politician.
    Of course there is option of being against space exploration- it’s hard imagine how. But who could predict the “defund the police campaign”- it’s turn out, a flop, but it was somehow running for about year.
    In terms of important things, it seems there is going be lot of things discovered about Mars. But it possible we will discover that humans just can’t live on Mars. And that would deflate things a lot.

  5. Good for all of them. For all the handwringing that these are billionaires; they have driven down the cost for accessing space for all of us.

  6. I’m not sure how Branson’s and Bezos’ flights will look compared to Inspiration4, carrying four “civilians” on a (presumably) non-government orbital “mission” (sigh) in September of this year.
    In any event, if it is truly the first non-government sponsored human orbital flight, it will add a huge extra dimension to the human market. Though the per seat price appears to be between $25 million and $50 million (100 to 200 times the cost of a VG ticket), the space portion of the flight (3 days) will offer nearly 300 times the duration of a SS2 flight. There are people who can afford such a thing, and who are willing to pay for it. There are even more who are able and willing to pay for a VG or Blue Origin flight.

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