Back in the 1960’s the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States of America were locked in a heated competition to conquer the frontier of space as an extension of the Cold War which the two great superpowers were in the midst of. The USSR made history by sending the first artificial earth satellite
Sputnik 1, the first animal ‘Laika’ (dog) and the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin to space while the American fought back by landing the first man on the moon. In the 21st century it would seem that the world’s billionaires are getting a piece of the action with their own space race.
Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos’s company Blue Origin which he founded in 2000 and supported financially by the sales of Amazon stock recently auctioned a seat of its space venture for $28 million. According to the Director of Astronaut and Orbital sales Ariane Cornell the New Shepard rocket, which carries a capsule designed for 6 people will carry a total of 4 individuals which includes the Amazon founder, his brother Mark, the auction winner and another passenger whose names have yet to be revealed.
The bid which started at $4 million quickly rose to over $20 million within the first few minutes eventually finalizing at $28 million. The proceeds from the auction will be transferred to Blue Origin’s education focused non-profit Club for the Future in order to support kids interested in STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)
The reusable New Shepard Rocket & Capsule which had previously carried out dozens of test flights without passengers will launch on the 20th of July and reach an altitude of about 340,000 feet. The massive windows of the capsule will allow for its passengers to perceive a breath taking view of the earth’s surface along with a zero gravity experience of about 3 minutes. Coincidently the date of the launch marks the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 flight that made Commanders Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin the first men to walk on the moon.
Blue Origin’s rocket launch will be latest move in the Billionaire’s space race where the Amazon founder is in competition with Tesla Founder Elon Musk’s Space X and English Business Magnate Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Both Branson and Bezos have placed their focus on ‘suborbital tourism’ where space craft would take passengers to the edge of space while Space X have focused on multi-day trips referred to as Orbital Tourism.
In little over a month we will be able to find who will be crowned the ‘First Billionaire in space’, from the looks of it Bezos is poised to win the title, but only time will tell what is in store for this modern space race.
No.820, Mount Cresent,Malabe,Sri Lanka