By: Nick Gambino
In this week’s episode of Billionaires in Space, Blue Origin’s rocket New Shepard launched into the vastness of space with Jeff Bezos and three other civilians onboard, including his brother Mark. The other two passengers were 82-year-old Wally Funk and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen.
Richard Branson made it to space just last week on a Virgin Galactic aircraft, albeit at a lower altitude than Bezos. The aircraft dubbed the VSS Unity flew over 50 miles above Earth into what I refer to as “kind of space.” I mean, it is space, but it’s not like we’re talking 2001: A Space Odyssey. Though, I’ve never been above 30,000 feet, so who am I to be talking?
Bezos and his three passengers rocketed past the 62-mile marker above this little blue globe. Like Branson, this allowed them to break the atmosphere and experience zero gravity for three minutes. A mere eight minutes after liftoff, they started their descent. The whole flight was only 10 minutes, but I can imagine it was glorious.
In contrast, Branson’s flight was about an hour. This is largely due to the difference in technology and method of flight they used for the trip.
“Zero gravity felt so normal, it felt like, almost like, we were, as humans, evolved to be in that environment which I know is impossible,” Bezos said upon return
I don’t think that’s so far-fetched. The crushing weight of Earth’s gravity feels too punishing for two-legged creatures like us humans. It makes a modicum of sense that maybe this wasn’t our planet of origin. But it’s not about where we came from but where we’re going, and this is the first step toward civilian space travel.
There was a time when the thrill of space was reserved for highly trained astronauts with a 7,000 IQ. Now, it’s for people who have the money to experience the thrill. And that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day—ticket sales.
Blue Origin plans to conduct two more flights before the end of 2021. We’re not sure how much that will cost someone looking to go to space, but Virgin Galactic prices are reportedly somewhere around $250,000.
Hopefully, we’ll see these prices drop significantly as we get further down the line, making recreational space visits accessible.