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Musk Vs. Bezos Vs. Branson: Who's Winning The Space Tourism Race?

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Musk Vs. Bezos Vs. Branson: Who's Winning The Space Tourism Race?

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Flights is set to list its shares on the public market in the near future.

Two American self-made billionaires, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, are also competing with Branson to make space tourism a reality.

Who Will Strike First?

Virgin Galactic is a spaceflight company within the Virgin Group founded by Branson. It launched in 2004 in an effort to make space flights available to tourists. Branson himself has so far invested more than $1 billion in Virgin Galactic.

A ticket with Virgin Galactic for a 90-minute flight reportedly costs around $250,000.

Unfortunately, in 2014, the Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise, a SpaceShipTwo spaceflight test vehicle suffered a catastrophic in-flight breakup during a test flight, killing one pilot.

In 2018, Branson's team made a comeback with Virgin's VSS Unity suborbital spaceliner, which reached a maximum altitude of 51.4 miles during a rocket-powered test flight over California's Mojave Desert in December.

Musk's Strategy

Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) as well as SpaceX, Hyperloop and SolarCity. SpaceX was founded by Musk in 2002 with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and “enabling the colonization of Mars.” Musk made headlines in May 2012, when SpaceX launched a rocket that would go on to send the first commercial vehicle to the International Space Station.

SpaceX has developed the Falcon launch vehicle family and the Dragon spacecraft family, both of which deliver payloads into Earth's orbit.

Falcon Heavy is also a partially reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX. Falcon Heavy is derived from the Falcon 9 vehicle and consists of a strengthened Falcon 9 first stage as the center core with two additional first stages as strap-on boosters.

In April, Musk called rival Bezos a 'copycat' on Twitter after Amazon said it plans to launch a massive constellation of more than 3,000 internet satellites.

Bezos Sends Amazon Dollars To Space

According to Forbes, Bezos is the world’s richest person. Bezos is the founder of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and owns The Washington Post.

He founded Blue Origin, LLC in 2000, a privately funded aerospace manufacturer and suborbital spaceflight services company headquartered in Kent, Washington.

The company has designed, built and flown multiple testbeds of its New Shepard spacecraft at its facilities in Culberson County, Texas. Test flights of New Shepard began in April 2015 and continued into 2018.

Bezos also liquidates $1 billion of Amazon stock every year to invest in space travel.

Who will be the first space flight company to make it mainstream and offer space flights to the general public — SpaceX, Virgin Group or Blue Origin? All three are strong contenders and able to take huge risks. Only time will tell.

Related Links:

Space Travel One Step Closer To Reality As Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Files To Go Public

OK, Here's The Plan: Elon Musk Lays Out Strategy For Mars Colony, International Rocket Travel

Posted-In: Blue Origin Elon Musk Jeff Bezos Richard BransonTravel Top Stories Tech General Best of Benzinga

 

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