Billionaires squeeze in the race for interstellar tourism


Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX
EFE

The billionaire Richard Branson went into space last Sunday. The next Tuesday Jeff Bezos will Y Elon musk it won’t take long to join the group. All of them will have traveled into space with the idea of ​​being the pioneers of interstellar tourism, which they hope will be mass tourism in the future.

With this prediction in mind, and although they are all better known to their other ventures, Branson, Bezos and Musk founded their own aerospace companies, and, with the exception of the last, they have not yet detailed their plans to travel beyond stratosphere, they decided the boss had to be the first to try it.

Branson, in the lead

The idea of ​​Branson, co-founder of the British conglomerate Virgin Group – with a strong presence in the world of air transport and tourism – is relatively simple: in the same way that airplanes now go from one point to another on Earth, he proposes that they do the same but in space.

To do this, Virgin Galactic, the subsidiary he founded in 2004 to offer commercial space travel, uses a propulsion cargo aircraft (similar to two planes joined by the wing) that lifts the spacecraft to a certain height and then frees it to glide and use its own engine to go even higher.

Last Sunday, July 11, at the age of 70, the British billionaire joined the Unity 22 mission, in which one of his aircraft took off from the desert of New Mexico (USA) and exceeded 80 kilometers in height to return an hour later to the earth’s surface. “I have dreamed of this moment since I was a child, but nothing had prepared me to have a view of the Earth from space,” said the businessman upon his return.

Branson’s dream is to take the current model of air travel into space, with very high-speed journeys and transportation to hotels on other planets.

Bezos follows

His bet, however, is somewhat different from those of Bezos and Musk, who, instead of using airplanes, have opted for send rockets that shoot vertically from the earth’s surface and bound for the International Space Station, the moon or any planet.

That is exactly what Blue Origin does, created in 2000 by the founder of Amazon and richest man in the world according to Forbes, Jeff Bezos. Bezos, who in early July He stopped being CEO of Amazon precisely to have more time for other projects such as space tourism, will travel into space on Tuesday with his brother, Mark, the 82-year-old pilot Wally Funk and an 18-year-old Dutch student whose father paid several million to get him a seat.

“Seeing the Earth from space changes you and change your relationship with the planet and with humanity“Bezos said in an Instagram post when he announced that he was going to be one of the passengers on Blue Origin’s first commercial trip.

Despite congratulating Branson on his trip last Sunday, the Amazon founder denied that Virgin Galactic aircraft can be considered spacecraft, since they do not go above the imaginary Karman line, located 99.7 kilometers from Earth. and that it is commonly accepted that it separates the Earth’s atmosphere from outer space.

Waiting for Musk

The third billionaire in the running is Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is least talked about these days, but the one who has had the most success with his company to date. SpaceX, a private company that is a contractor for the POT and that last year it already put astronauts into orbit.

The South African inventor residing in Texas is convinced that the future of humanity lies outside planet Earth and that if the species does not migrate to space, at some point a mass extinction phenomenon will occur. “The alternative is to become a civilization that travels through space and a species that resides on several planets. I hope you agree with me that this is the correct way to proceed,” Musk addressed the audience at a conference held in Mexico. in 2016.

The billionaire has also expressed wishes to found a city on Mars that will have a million inhabitants by 2050 and SpaceX is already working on the design of the aircraft to transport them.

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