Branson is going to stand aside? Bezos and Musk are the ultimate showdowns of the billionaire space race

“Bezos does not need to defeat Musk, but to defeat Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The world’s richest man and the third richest man at the same time aiming at space will have an extraordinary impact.”

Even if he feels he has been robbed of the limelight by rivals, space entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will not behave. come out. Until recently, he traveled to the edge of space for the first time in a spacecraft owned by his private space company Blue Origin, and he was obviously extremely excited.

Branson is going to stand aside? Bezos and Musk are the ultimate showdowns of the billionaire space race

Blue Origin’s first manned flight with four passengers, from left to right: Oliver Damen, Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, and Wally Fink

Bezos completed a 10-minute manned space mission on the New Shepard spacecraft, and then held a grand celebration ceremony. After the astronaut badges were worn on the flight suits of three other companions, Bezos, with a smile on his face, handed a check for $100 million to two celebrities to donate to the charity of their choice. This is obviously a response to criticism of Bezos’ “luxury space travel”.

Blue Origin’s “show party” highlights how important Bezos thinks it is to make up for lost time. Bezos was defeated by Branson in getting into space, who took a Virgin Galaxy spacecraft into what the United States considers to be the edge of space last week. For Virgin Galactic, who is good at ingenious marketing, this brings an important publicity advantage and arouses dissatisfaction with Bezos’ space company. The company pointed out that the Virgin Galactic spacecraft did not reach the internationally recognized standard altitude at all.

Compared with these two companies, Musk’s SpaceX is already far ahead, sending astronauts to the International Space Station last year, and plans to travel around the moon in 2023. X Prize founder Peter Diamandis said that what Musk is doing is about 50 times more difficult than Blue Origin’s space travel this week. More than 20 years ago, X Prize helped launch the commercial space industry.

Branson is going to stand aside? Bezos and Musk are the ultimate showdowns of the billionaire space race

Comparison between Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin spacecraft

However, after 21 years of hard work, Blue Origin’s latest flight has finally become a moment of reward for Bezos. Six years ago, Blue Origin appeared to be ahead of SpaceX in at least one department, successfully landing and reusing a rocket. Since then, the company’s time to achieve the next milestone seems to have started to delay. Greg Autry, a former White House liaison at NASA, said: “He is slow and everyone in the industry knows this.”

Otley said that Blue Origin’s long roadmap reflects that it is “more planned and more cautious” than SpaceX’s intuitive style. This approach resulted in a highly reliable space project, albeit at the cost of being several years behind its main competitors. He added that its slower speed also seems to reflect the company’s leadership in the traditional aerospace industry, in stark contrast with the more diverse team that Musk, who is known for his diligence, formed in SpaceX.

Branson is going to stand aside? Bezos and Musk are the ultimate showdowns of the billionaire space race

The New Shepard reusable rocket landed near Van Horn, Texas, USA

Despite the delay, the latest flight finally opened a way forward for Blue Origin . It became the first purely commercial space company to fly with paying passengers, and plans to conduct two more flights this year. The sale of seats in the six-person space capsule should bring additional revenue to the company. So far, the company has completely relied on Bezos’ personal wealth to support its operations.

The opening of suborbital space tourism and the precious few minutes of experience in zero gravity have triggered a competition between two very different styles. Virgin Galactic is run by former Disney executive Michael Colglzier (Michael Colglzier), and has been weaving a cautious story around its short flight over the years, shaping its future “astronauts” as participants in space adventures.

In an interview last week, Korazil elaborated on his plan for the company, which sounded exactly like the plan of an experienced theme park owner. He said: “Ultimately, you will come back with a memory, and this memory must be so deep that you will share it every day for the rest of your life.” When talking about Virgin Galactic’s aerial rocket launch mode, He added: “It’s very elegant and beautiful, a bit like dancing a ballet in space above the earth.”

In contrast, Blue Origin chose a more gritty aesthetic of space exploration. Bezos gave up the leather jacket and aviator sunglasses he had worn during the Blue Origin debut, put on a worn cowboy hat, and climbed into his space capsule through the iron frame.

Branson is going to stand aside? Bezos and Musk are the ultimate showdowns of the billionaire space race

All civilian astronauts of Blue Origin prepare to board the plane

Bezos and others took the spacecraft to a height of 107 kilometers, which is 7 kilometers higher than the internationally recognized space boundary. In stark contrast to the well-polished Branson’s company’s marketing message is that Bezos almost his company is now trying to wealthy future IAF that sell space travel dismissive staff.

When talking about Blue Origin sending paying passengers to the edge of space, Bezos said: “The whole purpose of this is to practice. The fact is that the architecture and technology we have chosen is completely overkill for suborbital tourism missions. “Instead, his eyes are on a larger goal: to put the rocket into orbit, comparable to the feat that SpaceX first achieved 11 years ago.

Otley said that Blue Origin at least laid a solid technical foundation for its greater ambitions beyond suborbital flight. These measures include the use of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to power the rocket, a difficult-to-handle fuel that would be ideal for more ambitious launches. Many space experts believe that much depends on two incalculable factors: how much time and money Bezos is prepared to invest in his space company.

X Prize founder Diamandis said that other people have almost no chance to catch up with SpaceX, but Bezos’ personal wealth makes Blue Origin a strong competitor. He said: “Bezos does not need to defeat Musk, but to defeat Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The world’s richest and third-richest people at the same time aim at space, will have an extraordinary impact.”

Bezos has always remained silent about how much money he has invested in Blue Origin, except for a comment three years ago that he spends more than $1 billion a year. It is estimated that SpaceX has raised nearly 7 billion U.S. dollars since its establishment, and has obtained considerable cash income from the busy orbital launch program. The Amazon founder also sent conflicting messages this week about how important space exploration will play in his future goals. Two weeks after leaving Amazon, he said that Blue Origin will be one of the two things he will do now. But he quickly said that he expected to find other new projects to keep himself busy.

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