The 21st Century Space Race

The first American man made history as he was launched into space aboard Freedom 7 on May fifth 1961. Sixity years later three billionaires aspire to do the same. 

Retired CEO of Amazon, Jeffrey Bezos has marked his wealth by traveling into space on his company’s rocket “New Shepard.”

 He took flight on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, a date strategically chosen by the now astronaut. After spending 5.5 billion dollars for a 10 minute and 10 second trip, the flight landed in a desert in west Texas. A short flight that Bezos was awestruck from. “I have no words, it was a perfect mission,” he stated from an interview with NBC.

Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, also found his way into the solar system. His company SpaceX plans on flying a civilian group of astronauts into space. If all goes well the trip should last three to four days with the group aboard Falcon 9, splashing safely in the Atlantic Ocean. 

As well as Falcon 9, Musk has more plans while working with NASA. SpaceX is designing a reusable Mars rocket, Starship, that could take about 100 people to Mars and back. 

Following the suit of both Bezos and Musk, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniack, although not a billionaire, has announced his new space program, Privateer Space. He has yet to announce any specific missions but promises that it will “be like no other.” 

Founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson has also started his own space company. Virgin Galactic has launched off with Branson on board.

Although on different paths, each man has made it clear why they’re investing in space travel: to make it more accessible for an everyday person. With that being said, a ticket to space, according to Bezos, can cost upwards of two million dollars. However, Musk putting a Cancer survivor on board who at 29 will be the youngest person to go to space, he still plans on cosmic cruising to become a part of daily life. He has also claimed that he has always dreamed of the civilization of life on Mars. 

Critics have made it clear that they don’t support exploitative space travel. People have not shied away from sharing their thoughts over social media. Many think that the businessmen could’ve spent the money on the community improving it for the greater good, or on paying their workers better wages. 

When brought forth these statements in an interview with CNN, Bezos surprisingly agrees, “Well, I say they are largely right. We have to do both. We have lots of problems here on Earth and we have to work on those. We always need to look towards the future.” He continues on to explain that that is exactly what his company plans to do, “build a road to space for future generations.”

Only time can tell what these space missions will hold for our future. Whether it be a waste of money or a new civilization.