Bezos, whose temples were already pale, finally realized his childhood dream, at least taking the first step.
“Everyone asked me if I was nervous, I was just curious and wanted to know what I could feel.”
A small step for Bezos
Bezos, wearing a blue spacesuit and a cowboy hat, stepped out of the space capsule and waved to the crowd waiting to land in the Texas desert with a smile. The 11-minute flight ended quickly, and his temples were already pale, he finally realized his childhood dream, at least taking the first step.
Whether it is for him personally, or for Blue Origin, or for space travel, this flight is just a small step. But only by these adventurous pioneers who continue to accumulate silicon steps, can it be possible to push humans toward space travel and interstellar migration, and take a decisive step in the future.
Following last week’s Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson (Richard Branson), Blue Origin founder Bezos also took his New Shepard rocket today into the earth 106 kilometers above the ground Orbit, becoming the second billionaire to take off on his own space travel company’s aircraft. The world’s richest man with a personal value of more than 200 billion US dollars has resigned as Amazon’s CEO.
Bezos chose today (July 20) because it is a milestone in the history of spaceflight of the United States and even mankind. On July 20, 1969, American astronauts successfully landed on the moon aboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Neil Armstrong, the first person to land on the moon, said the classic “This is a small step for me, but a big step for mankind.”
The 5-year-old Bezos also watched the moon landing broadcast in front of TV. Like countless children, he was full of dreams for aerospace. Because of this, Bezos paid tribute to Armstrong after completing his space journey, “This is just a small step in the Blue Origin project. What we really want to do is to build reusable space vehicles, build a path to space, and let Our children build the future.”
Along with 57-year-old Bezos to experience the feeling of weightlessness, the 82-year-old American legendary female pilot Wally Funk (Wally Funk) and the 18-year-old Dutch freshman Oliver Daemon (Oliver Daemon) were also observing the earth from space.
And Bezos’s younger brother Mark Bezos (Mark Bezos). This flight also set the oldest record and the youngest record for an astronaut entering space. This is also the first manned space travel without a pilot in human history. Before takeoff, the four trained for 14 hours at the launch base in Texas.
The mysterious passenger who had previously spent 28 million US dollars to auction the tickets withdrew from the flight due to “time conflict” reasons. Damon, a Dutch boy who was originally scheduled to take off in the second batch, took the seat. His father is a Dutch private equity investment tycoon, and this is a high school graduation trip he sent to his son.
Bezos originally wanted to be the first person to travel in space. He announced in early June that he planned to take a rocket into low Earth orbit on July 20 and sell the first ship ticket through auction. But shortly after he announced the arrangement, Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, advanced his own launch plan, took off 9 days earlier than Bezos, and took the aura of the first person in space travel into his own hands.
Although Branson snatched the aura of the first flight, it did not affect Bezos’s interest. Bezos said excitedly that he had realized his boyhood dream. “Everyone asked me if I was nervous. I was just curious and wanted to know what I could feel.” Fink, who set the oldest astronaut record, was even more excited. She originally completed NASA’s “Mercury 13” project in 1961. (Send women into space) All training, but because of the cancellation of the project, I was forced to shelve my dream of aerospace. Bezos gave her a chance to realize her dreams in her old age and fulfilled her life’s greatest long-cherished wish.
After the 18-meter-long New Shepard rocket took off, it separated from the space capsule at an altitude of 76 kilometers from the ground, and then landed vertically back to the open area a few kilometers from the launch site. The space capsule carrying four passengers continues to lift up to a height of 106 kilometers from the ground. The four people can unfasten their seat belts and experience weightlessness at the edge of outer space for nearly four minutes. Then the spacecraft returned to the atmosphere, and finally opened the parachute and landed in the desert. The entire flight lasted nearly 11 minutes, and the rocket and space capsule were used again.
In the global media attention and social network heated discussions, perhaps only Musk dismissed Bezos’ space travel. “He just wandered around the edge of the earth.” Musk retweeted a picture of fans mocking Bezos on Twitter with a laugh a few days ago, and then he publicly derogated Bezos and didn’t really enter outer space.
As we all know, Musk has never looked down upon Bezos, and has repeatedly mocked in public that Blue Origin will only follow itself in the aerospace field. But compared to Musk’s blatant, Bezos has always responded with an attitude that silence is golden. Whether it is to Musk or Trump, Bezos never responds publicly, let alone bickering on Twitter.
Compared with Branson flying at the bottom edge of a low orbit 80 kilometers above the ground nine days ago, Bezos’s flight altitude has increased a bit, just over the 62-mile (about 100 kilometers) boundary between outer space and the atmosphere. -Carmen Line, but only stays above the Carmen Line for a few minutes. From this perspective, Musk mocked Bezos just turning around the edge of the earth , and there is no problem.
Compared with Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin only experiencing weightlessness in low earth orbit, Musk’s SpaceX plans to send passengers directly into the International Space Station by the end of this year and fly around the earth. SpaceX sent two American astronauts to the International Space Station through the “Falcon 9” rocket in May last year. This is the first time SpaceX has sent people into space, and it is also the first time that the United States has used domestically-made aircraft to manned aviation since the space shuttle retired in 2011.
Of course, Musk just looks down on Bezos, and still gives enough respect to the veteran Branson. Before Branson took off, Bezos even personally went to the launch base of Virgin Galactic to send blessings. Branson undoubtedly deserves everyone’s respect. His life is full of legendary adventures. He went to the world to explore the earth and passed by with death many times. The fourth person to pay tribute to Apple’s legendary advertisement ” Uncommon Thinking ” is Branson, who completed the feat of flying over the Atlantic in a hot air balloon.
For Branson, taking the company’s executives on the first flight is completely in line with his style of doing things. Branson even told the media that if the founder of the space travel company was really confident, he would fly for the first time in person. But in fact, Branson’s flight was only the fourth test flight of the Virgin Galactic aircraft. He took the lead in Bezos’s first flight, more or less for Virgin Galactic’s subsequent financing and scheduled promotion.
After Branson’s successful first flight, his Virgin Galactic immediately announced a $500 million financing plan. There are also more than 600 users who have bought tickets to go to space, and each advance ticket is about $250,000. Blue Origin has not announced the current ticket prices and the number of people scheduled for the space capsule, and the outside world has no way of knowing how much Damon’s billionaire father paid for his children’s graduation trip. It is not uncommon for Branson to take risks, but Bezos, the world’s richest man, has always acted cautiously and low-key. Although the New Shepard rocket has successfully tested more than a dozen times before, it is still surprising that Bezos decided to board the first flight himself.
Not everyone has such courage. Except for the mysterious passenger who spent $28 million to take a seat ticket, the American movie star Ashton Kutcher, who once played Jobs, also dropped the second flight of Virgin Galactic. Tickets to space. His wife Mila Kunis persuaded Kutcher that he is a married man and his children are still small. At this time, traveling to space is not a wise decision for the family.
The common dream of competitors
The three billionaires engaged in space travel races happen to be born in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Although Musk has been ridiculing Bezos as a follower , in fact, the two billionaires have the same dreams, and it is about the same time that they began to invest in space travel.
Blue Origin started in 2000. In the previous year, Bezos watched an inspirational movie “October Sky” about aerospace dreams. He recalled his childhood aerospace dreams and sprouted his own creation of a space company. idea. In the second year, he sold some of his shares at the height of the Nasdaq dot-com bubble and cashed in and founded Blue Origin. If the sell-off is later and the Internet stock bubble bursts, there may be no money to build Blue Origin.
The biographer later found out that Bezos was interviewed by local media when he was 18 years old (1982), which proved his teenage dream. At that time, the childish high school graduates talked about their dream of building a star hotel theme park that can accommodate 2 to 3 million people in the future. The ultimate dream is to evacuate human beings from the earth. Yes, the creation of an online bookstore and a store of all things is still a distant future.
Coincidentally, at about the same time when Bezos founded Blue Origin, Musk was also envisioning sending humans into space and colonizing Mars in the future. At that time he founded the online banking company X.com and competitors Confinity merger, but the latter’s founder Peter Thiel (Peter Thiel) has replaced him as CEO, the company also changed its name to PayPal.
At that time, Musk had enough time to reimagine his next entrepreneurial journey. In order to realize his dream, he also went to Russia to buy cheap rockets, but returned to the United States with disappointment and decided to build a low-cost rocket by himself. This is why he planned to start SpaceX in 2001.
Also in 2001, Dennis Tito, a US hedge fund tycoon who used to be a NASA engineer, spent $20 million on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft into the International Space Station and lived for eight days, fulfilling his space dream and becoming The first person to travel in space at his own expense.
NASA, which is not bad for money, refuses to provide dream services for non-professional astronauts and billionaires, and even refuses Tito to enter the training base. In contrast, Russia needs the money very much and does not care about selling a ticket. His stunning move directly contributed to Branson’s subsequent founding of Virgin Galactic. After all, there are so many rich men in the world who are willing to pay a high price to go to space to realize their aerospace dreams, and Branson himself is one of them.
Although NASA rejected Tito’s request for payment to heaven, subsequent policy changes forced NASA to change its attitude. Unwilling to bear the rising aerospace budget, the Bush administration decided to liberalize the aerospace industry in 2004, launching the Commercial Crew Program, outsourcing it to private domestic companies, and stimulating competition in the commercial aviation industry.
NASA announces its own space exploration project requirements, invests part of the funds, transfers part of the technology and design, and private companies themselves are responsible for the design and construction of space vehicles. In addition to NASA’s investment, they need to finance themselves. In order to bid for projects, private companies face fierce competition. Only when they come up with reliable, stable and cost-effective solutions and products can they get investment and contracts from NASA.
17 years have passed since a few billionaires started investing in this field, and this year the three companies have carried people into space. It is estimated by Goldman Sachs that in the past 20 years, various aerospace startups have raised a total of 13.3 billion U.S. dollars. The reason behind Musk’s dissatisfaction with Bezos is that the two companies are in fierce competition. Various public attacks on competitors are also Musk’s consistent style.
Space battle between the two richest men
Interestingly, Musk and Bezos also had a meeting in 2004 to discuss each other’s space dreams. But in the ensuing time, the two companies were not only competing for the same resources and recruiting the same batch of talents, but also developing similar products and competing for the same NASA bidding project. Since then, Musk will not let go of any opportunity to taunt Bezos.
Behind Musk’s arrogance is SpaceX’s technical confidence. At least for the time being, Musk’s SpaceX has always been suppressing Bezos’ blue origin: it grabbed the lease of the LC-39A rocket launch platform for the Apollo Moon Landing Program, and was the first to realize the launch of a recoverable rocket. He successfully entered the space station with a manned spaceflight and won NASA’s $2.9 billion Artemis manned lunar landing project. Every time the origin of blue is a few years or more behind.
Just the day before Bezos lifted off, SpaceX completed the first test launch of the heaviest first-class rocket in history, or will try to start nine engines in the next few weeks to achieve 1,800 tons of thrust. The significance of this rocket in the history of aviation is to show the world the technical feasibility of large-scale interplanetary cargo and even immigration in the future.
However, Musk’s arrogance also stimulated Bezos’s ambition. Beginning in 2017, Bezos, the world’s richest man, began to increase investment in Blue Origin, with an annual investment of US$1 billion. For Bezos, this is just a very small part of his personal wealth that continues to swell every year. But Musk’s personal wealth is almost concentrated in Tesla ‘s holdings, and he does not have much funds to continue investing in SpaceX, the latter’s funding needs mainly rely on external financing. Musk holds approximately 54% of SpaceX.
In addition, Bezos has resigned from the position of Amazon CEO and faded out of the daily operations of e-commerce and cloud computing giants. He has enough energy to transfer to the product development of Blue Origin. The company culture that Bezos identified for Blue Origin is gradatim ferociter, which means “step by step, fierce attack”. Musk has always been in the state of “time management master” and must promote business in Tesla and SpaceX at the same time.
Both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin will open ticket booking services later this year and begin normal operations next year. SpaceX also plans to send passengers into the International Space Station later this year. It seems that the commercial space travel business of the three billionaires is gradually getting on track. Morgan Stanley predicts that by around 2040, the scale of the commercial space industry will exceed one trillion U.S. dollars.
The US government is also actively supporting the development of this budding industry. The American Aviation Administration (FAA) will have to wait until at least 2023 before formulating regulatory regulations and related departments on commercial space flight. This blank period is designed to set aside growth opportunities for this fledgling industry. At present, the industry is still in the “informed consent” mechanism (similar to participating in bungee jumping activities), that is, passengers who want to board space need to recognize the related risks, and commercial aerospace companies do not need to assume safety responsibilities like airlines.
In addition to sending people with good money and courage to go to the sky to see the earth, Blue Origin is also continuing to promote the service of sending people to the space station orbiting the ground. From Bezos’s name for the blue origin rocket, you can see his development plan. Shepard was the first American astronaut Alan Shepard to fly into low earth orbit, and Glenn was the first American to fly around the ground. Astronaut Glenn (John Glenn).
It is worth mentioning that Glenn was the oldest astronaut before Fink entered space today. In 1998, 77-year-old Glenn returned to space on the space shuttle Discovery. Many American astronauts chose to enter politics after retiring. Glenn served as the Ohio State Senator for 24 years.
Low Earth orbit is the first step, followed by orbiting the earth, then building a space station and landing on the moon, and finally setting up an interstellar or Mars colony. This is NASA’s space plan sixty years ago, and it is also the dream of Branson, Bezos and Musk. In 2021, the space competition among tech billionaires has just taken the first step.
Despite being attacked by many experts from Anglo-American Space Agency as “technologically unfeasible”, Musk still firmly believes that humans can begin to colonize Mars in 2050 and create a sustainable settlement. The first step he envisioned is to send humans to Mars in 2025. It is no exaggeration to say that the healthy competition between Musk and Bezos will directly promote the progress of the US aerospace industry.
China’s rapid rise
On the other hand, the space competition between China and the United States is also promoting the development of human space industry. Although it started much later than the United States, the progress of China’s aerospace industry has been significantly accelerated in recent years , and new breakthroughs have been continuously made with a very high success rate, which has also made the US aerospace industry feel direct pressure and threats. Similar to the US-Soviet space hegemony half a century ago, the fierce competition promotes the human aerospace industry to continuously break new boundaries.
Whether it is the moon, Mars or the space station, the speed of China’s rise in the aerospace industry has amazed the world. In 2012, China’s Chang’e-3 successfully landed on the moon. In 2019, Chang’e-4 landed on the back of the moon for the first time. In 2020, Chang’e-5 successfully took samples from the front of the moon and brought back two kilograms of samples. The manned moon landing is also planned to be realized after 2030. It was China’s rapid achievements in the exploration of the moon that forced the US government to once again propose a plan to send people to the moon.
China’s self-launched “Tianwen-1” successfully landed on Mars in mid-May this year, becoming the second country after the United States to deploy a Mars rover on Mars, and the first country to successfully complete a landing and inspection on its first mission to Mars. . In June this year, China’s Shenzhou XII spacecraft successfully sent three astronauts into China’s own Tiangong space station, planning to live for three months.
Perhaps China is so swift and violent in the field of aerospace, but also thanks to the promotion of the United States. As early as 2011, the US Congress passed legislation to prevent China from joining the International Space Station cooperation program for reasons of national security and restrict the space cooperation between the United States and China. This exclusion has also prompted China to completely seek independence in the aerospace field.
However, according to the current International Space Station is scheduled to be retired in 2024, as Kagome States and other allies not to continue to upgrade the space station to replace it, then China Tiangong will be the only manned space station in Earth orbit. Subject to the restrictions of the U.S. Congress in 2011, U.S. astronauts cannot use China’s space station. Obviously, the United States will try its best to avoid this embarrassing scene from happening.
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