On the 20th of July 2021, Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder) flew to space on a New Shepard rocket ship made by his company Blue Origin for a 11- minute flight. The New Shepard was crewed by Jeff Bezos’ brother, Mark Bezos, 18-year old Oliver Daeman (who became the youngest person to travel to space) and 82 years old pilot Wally Funk. Funk too, became the oldest person to travel to space. The New Shepard is designed to carry clients more than many miles over the Earth’s surface for a few minutes of weightlessness and panoramic views of Earth. 

The spacecraft travelled three times the speed of sound. Bezos and his crewmates were then ready to appreciate three minutes of weightlessness, as the case arrived at a high point simply over 62 miles. That is the internationally known “limit” between the efficiently detectable atmosphere and space, a differentiation perceived by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, a Switzerland-based association that sanctions aerospace records. 

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket launch on 20th July

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, an American spaceflight company also visited space a week before Bezos did, two pilots and three other crew members accompanied the billionaire. After 17 years of development and investment of over billions of dollars, Branson was able to achieve his dream and fly to space. Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft: “VSS unity” was launched in New Mexico with the two pilots navigating the vehicle. The spacecraft was slower than New Shepard but was able to reach the edge of space. The spacecraft reached an altitude of almost 80 kilometers. After the flight, Branson told the media about his visions of space travel: 

We’re here to make space more accessible to all at all,” Branson said.“The mission statement that I wrote inside my spacesuit was to turn the dream of space travel into a reality for my grandchildren … and for many people who are alive today, for everybody.

Virgin Galactic continues to test its spacecraft system intending to bring commercial service by the start of 2022. 

Richard Branson’s space flight: VSS Unity space craft 

When I usually talk to people around me about their opinions on the space race, there are always two opinions. On one side of the argument, people are against the entire concept of space travel and that it is nothing but a waste of money. Instead, the same billionaires can help fix some of the problems on their home planet. I don’t disagree, why spend so much money on space travel knowing that all the space flights and tests will only pollute Earth in the next few years? The spaceflights wouldn’t even be accessible to everyone. A middle class person or even an average rich person won’t be able to afford the tickets of a 10-minute spaceflight. 

The billionaire space race speaks of the agenda that space travel is more of a groundbreaking, revolutionary step for mankind than providing healthcare, fixing climate change and eradicating poverty is. In a conference in 2017, Bezos told the media that he was cashing in around $1 billion in Amazon every year in order to invest in his company, Blue Origin. Considering Bezos net worth, he could continue that practice for another 200 years. Maybe he should consider paying his Amazon workers properly, who he appreciated before his little joyride to space. 

Bezos was largely criticised by the media when he said that he was going to visit space. People even went on to create a petition in which they wanted Bezos to stay in space and to never return back on Earth. For half of the social media, rocketing off to space isn’t a sign of progression but shows the inequality among people in terms of wealth and class. It shows that only a handful of billionaires and millionaires will go off to space while the rest of humanity suffers from climate change and poverty. It shows the sheer amount of carelessness for the middle and low class. 

The other opinion which I normally hear is that space travel will change humans, it will change a civilization just like the industrial revolution did in the 19th century. According to such people, the billionaires are “resurrecting” an industry. Like Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, has started to create and envision reusable rocket boosters, and has reduced the costs of space flight tickets. By significantly reducing the cost of rocket launches, SpaceX is able to afford to launch more rockets, which in turn provides more opportunities for innovation, and more data from which to learn. Some scientists do say that the advancement in space travel will lead to technological progression which can benefit everyone. 

Conclusively, we can’t stop billionaires from spending all their money on secondary causes. However, they should keep in mind that helping humanity on Earth is as important as progressing to interplanetary space flights. If in the next few years, these billionaires are successful in making space travel accessible to even a quarter of Earth’s population, then there will be a start of a new industry. More space flight companies and start ups will start to form. It might be possible that space travel becomes more common, not only for the rich class but for the middle class too. However, that can take decades. 

Hello I am Mahnoor Tabassum and I am a writer at Jayzoq in the Business Category. I love to study physics and computers and I absolutely love smoothies.
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