Fast cars, big mansions and fancy planes. These are the things you come to expect from billionaires. Nowadays, though, travelling to space is becoming a more common showcase of wealth – but why is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos launching himself out of the atmosphere?
While you might typically expect there to be a motive for going to space involving scientific research, it would appear that the mission Jeff Bezos is set to embark on is purely to live out his dream of going to space.You could argue that there is some motive behind the flight: Bezos will be the first person to embark on a Blue Origin rocket flight and in doing so, will likely provide the company with vital information regarding their aim in practice.
Alongside Jeff Bezos there will be two other passengers on the automated capsule, his brother Mark and an unnamed passenger who purchased the ticket at auction for $28m.
The proceeds for this auction were donated to Blue Origin’s (the company behind the capsule) charity, The Blue Origin Club which aims to help young people take an interest in space and science.
The Blue Origin flight is a relatively short duration with the trip lasting for eleven minutes, during which the capsule will be launched just below orbit. This allows for a few minutes of zero-gravity experience before ultimately falling straight back down. Unlike orbital space travel, the speeds of this launch are much slower as the rocket does not need to maintain a steady course in orbit. Rather, the rocket will scrape the edge of space before dropping back to earth.
Though Bezos and his party will be the first crew aboard the Blue Origin rocket, there have been numerous test launches which haven’t reported any failures.
While it would be safe to assume this trend of success will continue, space travel is notoriously dangerous and it would be impossible to claim the launch will be guaranteed to succeed.
You would imagine, however, that Jeff Bezos and his party are fully aware of the potential dangers of the launch and feel comfortable about the safety of it.
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Alongside other billionaires such as Elon Musk and Richard Branson, it is becoming clear that space travel is edging closer and closer towards consumers and that many billionaires are seeking to capitalise on this potential market early.
It will certainly be interesting to see how commercial space travel continues to expand in coming years and beyond. Will the rivalry between billionaires be key to driving this rapidly expanding industry?