The space race started a “price war”

In the future, perhaps punching the edge of space will also become a trend.

Manned spacecraft, space travel, and space shuttles. Many people have a dream of space in their hearts. Now this dream seems to be getting closer and closer to us.

On July 11, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, who was in his seventies, successfully completed his first manned space flight. After experiencing three to four minutes of weightlessness, he fell and returned to the ground intact. After landing, Branson said with emotion, “All of this is amazing.”

Branson became the founder of the first commercial aerospace company to go to space, and he somewhat stole Bezos’ limelight. But soon, the Blue Origin New Shepard (New Shepard) successfully went to the sky and flew farther than Branson, with a gap of about 14 kilometers between the two sides. After Bezos returned to the voyage, Branson was connoted, emphasizing that the origin of blue is the “First Human Flight”.

As early as 2017-2018 years around Blue Origin and Hutch hegemony SpaceX had already caused the boom to the outside world to discuss private aviation competition, and now two rich “personally” in the same month has to fly into space, but also angered the public There was a lot of imagination, because they discovered that a space trip might not be as expensive as before.

Space travel no longer belongs to the “game” of the rich?

For a long time, space travel was just a game for the top rich.

As early as 2001, Dennis Tito, who had accumulated a lot of wealth after working for NASA, took a rocket into the International Space Station through the Russian Space Agency and completed a nine-day space trip, and then many rich people also used similar methods to enter space. But a space trip is very expensive. Almost every space traveller has to spend at least 20 million U.S. dollars for the trip. Charles Simeone, like Charles Simeone, has been in space twice and spent a total of about 60 million U.S. dollars.

It is worth mentioning that the space travel of the rich before this was basically a “monopoly” by the Russian Space Agency. The Russian Aerospace Agency believes that taking rich people to the sky will not burden the space industry, but can ease the pressure of huge investment. Therefore, they will launch various new services from time to time, as if they are operated as a tourism project.

Compared to the Russian Space Agency, SpaceX, a commercial space company, is more expensive to travel in space. According to data circulating on the Internet, the space fee for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is US$55 million. As the first passenger scheduled for Musk’s orbiting the moon, Yusaku Maesawa has paid all the fees. Japanese media reported that the total cost of the plan is about 100 billion yen (about 5.85 billion yuan).

The International Space Station, orbiting the moon or even Mars, there are more and more space travel, and the price is getting more and more expensive, but now Branson has completed the first space travel, Virgin Galactic’s technical route based on airplanes directly takes the space travel The price of the product has been drastically lowered, which has also attracted a lot of attention worldwide. According to foreign media reports, more than 700 people have booked Virgin Galactic’s first commercial space tour flights, and the price of each ticket ranges from US$200,000 to US$250,000 (approximately RMB 1.295 million to 1.618 million).

Coincidentally, in 2018, Blue Origin also reported the news of space travel fares. A Blue Origin employee said that the company will sell tickets in the price range of 200,000 to 300,000 US dollars.

The average price per person is between 200,000 and 300,000 US dollars. If mass shipments are realized, the cost of sending people to the sky will be further reduced by these commercial aerospace companies. An aerospace technology expert said that in the future, it may be reduced to less than 200,000 yuan, and this kind of travel can turn from the experience of the rich to the consumption of the general public. But has space travel really entered the affordable stage?

The space race started a "price war"

In fact, it is not entirely that, unlike SpaceX’s distant interstellar travel plan, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are aimed at suborbital travel. Simply put, it is to allow passengers to float for a few minutes in weightlessness while enjoying the view of the earth under the black space background. There is nothing else. Therefore, for three to four minutes of weightlessness experience, it costs hundreds of thousands or millions. Even for those with spending power, it is also an expensive tourism project.

On the other hand, the cost of space flight is still high. Some aerospace analysts estimate that the cost of a single flight of Blue Origin is about 10 million U.S. dollars. At a price of 200,000 U.S. dollars, carrying 50 talents can offset the cost, but I am afraid that no aircraft can carry so many people. If the price is lowered, the commercialization of space travel is estimated to be profitable.

Space duo or three heroes fighting for hegemony?

Branson’s first space journey successfully established Virgin Galactic’s reputation in the field of space travel. Bezos flew into space on the “New Shepard” and became Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin travel in space. The first confrontation of technology is the latter, but the latter is related to whether private aerospace companies can truly operate the space travel market.

The space race started a "price war"

Why do you say that? Although Branson was acclaimed for challenging space travel at the age of 70, there were still many doubts about the flight. The biggest problem was altitude. The Branson ride “unity number”, the highest elevation reaches only 86 one thousand meters , the According to the International Aeronautical Federation (FAI), the altitude of 100 km is demarcation of space and the atmosphere, the so-called “Carmen Wire”. As a result, many people think that Branson has not entered space at all and that it is not a space travel.

Relatively speaking, the blue origin space travel program has more technical content. On the one hand, after the “New Shepard” reached the Carmen line, it landed intact to a predetermined ground position, and has completed 15 unmanned flight tests; on the other hand, Blue Origin and SpaceX both use rocket launch methods. Lord, only Virgin Galactic is based on airplanes.

The “New Shepard” successfully reached above the Carmen line and completed the manned plan, which truly opened the era of space travel, and it can also attract consumers to pay for space travel.

However, what needs to be recognized is that sending people into space is not actually the core “battlefield” of this space race. It is the areas with greater commercial value such as satellite launch, satellite manufacturing, and rocket engines that the giants compete for. The high ground will also determine the overall pattern of the future space race. Virgin Galactic’s business is still focused on suborbital flights, and it seems that it cannot participate in the battle between Blue Origin and SpaceX.

As early as 2004, Branson founded Virgin Galactic. He was deeply influenced by the well-known aerospace engineer Bert Rutan. He announced in a high-profile manner that he would use the spacecraft modeled on Spacecraft One to provide commercial space flights. A fare of $200,000 was set. Unlike Musk and Bezos’ goals for landing on the moon or Mars, Branson’s purpose of establishing Virgin Galactic has always been to allow more people to “see the magnificence of our planet, the glory of the stars , and whether The shocking feeling of the heavy state”.

It also determines Although the same for the private aerospace company, Virgin Galactic is still a vertical integration of Hang aerospace and space tourism high-tech companies. On the contrary, Blue Origin and SpaceX, which were established at about the same time, are committed to developing rocket reuse technology, shifting commercial aerospace from the initial exploration into space technology to focusing more on the application of aerospace technology to promote social and economic development, greatly activating the vitality of commercial aerospace.

This is beyond the reach of Virgin Galactic.

Space race, satellites are the highlight

When the attention of the outside world is focused on the space journey of Branson and Bezos, another battlefield in the space economy has also begun to rattle, which stems from a piece of new news. According to “Business Insider” citing the latest news from The Information, Amazon has acquired Facebook’s team of more than a dozen satellite Internet experts, and spokespersons from the two companies also confirmed the news.

This news also mentioned Facebook’s health cluster team as early as April Join Amazon existing operations team of 500 people at a time when Bezos has not officially retired, thus, in fact, it can be understood as a move he was to In the future, the focus of work will shift to Blue Origin to prepare. After acquiring Facebook’s satellite team, it will directly complement Blue Origin’s businesses in satellite launch, satellite communications, and satellite services, thereby building the entire aerospace value chain around satellites.

The space race started a "price war"

This is also a challenge to Space X’s “Starlink” plan. Since the contradiction between Bezos and Musk became public, it has become commonplace for the two to tear each other and scold each other, especially in the layout of the satellite industry. In April 2019, Amazon announced plans to launch 3236 satellites to provide wireless network services. This idea is similar to the Starlink project. Musk immediately mocked Bezos and called him a plagiarism expert.

For a long time, whether it is Blue Origin or Space X, the early large-scale investment has made the company extremely dependent on external “blood transfusion”, and profitability seems to be far away. Compared with the model where commercial gimmicks such as space travel outweigh actual benefits, the satellite industry will be the battleground for future space races.

According to the “Aerospace Economic Report 2020” of the European Consulting Company, the upstream industry output value of aerospace business is 9 billion US dollars, accounting for approximately 2.3%, including aerospace equipment manufacturing of 4 billion US dollars, space launching 1.7 billion US dollars, and ground services 3 billion US dollars; The commercial downstream output value of the major industry has reached 306 billion US dollars, accounting for about 79.5%, including satellite operations of 13 billion US dollars and satellite services of 293 billion US dollars; the government procurement budget is 70 billion US dollars, accounting for about 18.2%.

Morgan Stanley ‘s research also shows that by 2040, satellite broadband will account for 50-70% of the global space economic growth.

The space race started a "price war"

Comparing Blue Origin and Space X, Blue Origin, which was founded two years earlier than Space X, is actually quite different from SpaceX in terms of technology and commercial application. For example, the satellite plan. In 2015, Space X announced the Starlink plan. Four years later, Blue Origin launched a global satellite broadband plan called Kuiper. In February this year, Space X deployed the 17th batch of Starlink satellites. Put the company’s first Project Kuiper Internet satellite into orbit.

Perhaps it is the realization of the gap in Blue Origin that Bezos acquired a team of Facebook satellite Internet experts. As the plan unfolds, Blue Origin will change its previous low-key and slow pace and accelerate to catch up with Space X. And now a unique advantage is Bezos’ time. As a founder who has always liked to fight protracted battles, Blue Origin cannot be underestimated under his direct leadership.

For companies, exploring space is no longer a mystery, but a business opportunity with endless potential; for us, space travel is no longer out of reach, it is slowly approaching. In fact, whether it is Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin or Space X, their attempts will expand our imagination of space. In the future, it may become a trend to punch the edge of space.

Koi Finance, in-depth fun and good luck, public account: jinlifin. This article is an original article, any reprinting without retaining the author’s relevant information is declined.

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