As Jeff Bezos goes to space, who's winning the billionaire space race?
7:36

As Jeff Bezos goes to space, who's winning the billionaire space race?

Science
Speaker 1: Jeff Bezos is going to space. The founder of Amazon is flying in a rocket built by his space company, blue origin, but while he's the richest billionaire to head to space, he's not the first. So who is winning the billionaire space race. Who's going higher and who's going further. It's space billionaire summer. Let's put, break it down Speaker 1: At the start of [00:00:30] June Jeff Bezos posted a video on Instagram announcing he would be flying to space with his brother Mark Bezos on July 20, the two brothers are flying on the maiden crude voyage for a blue origins, new she rocket, but just when Bezos thought he would be the first billionaire into space in SWOS Richard Branson at the start of July, the billionaire founder of Virgin galactic announced he was going to space nine days before Bezos on July [00:01:00] 11. You'd be forget, even for thinking that space is just riddled with billionaires right now, all flying around and bumping into each other in their gold space suits. And that's before we've even gotten to Elon Musk and SpaceX. So what are all these companies doing? Well, let's start with Jeff Bezos and blue origin Speaker 1: Founded back in 2000 blue. Origin says its goal is to build a world where humans live and work in space. Bezos [00:01:30] has even talked about humanity. One day, populating giant floating space colonies with their own transport systems and weather. The company is developing a number of spacecraft, but this is the one taking Bezos, just for new shepherd, a reusable suborbital rocket designed to take short trips just beyond the boundary of space. New shepherd has done 15 test flights, and if everything goes to plan, its first crude flight will take off from west Texas on July 20 after [00:02:00] launching, it will climb to roughly 250,000 feet or 75 kilometers above earth where the crew capsule will separate from the rocket. The rocket then returns to earth for a vertical landing. While the capsule continues to climb to about 350,000 feet or 105 kilometers, that's beyond the common line, which marks the edge of space. Speaker 1: It's hundred kilometers above earth, or about 10 times higher than the flight path of a commercial jet [00:02:30] up there Bezos's crew will have about three minutes in microgravity. Then they'll strap back in and descend back to earth with the help of three parachutes. Now this is a suborbital rocket. So the whole flight is pretty short, only about 10 minutes. And the capsule is fully autonomous with only room for six passengers. No pilot. Speaking of passengers, Bezos will be joined on his flight by veteran aviator, Wally funk, who was part of the so-called mercury 13, [00:03:00] a group of women who went through private astronaut training in the sixties, but never made it into space. Now Wally fun is in her eighties and she's finally taking the trip. An anonymous auction winner was also supposed to fly on the mission after paying $28 million for a ticket. But the at mystery passenger pulled out just days before the flight because of a scheduling conflict. Speaker 1: Instead 18 year old Oliver, Damon will get his 10 minutes of space fan after his [00:03:30] father bought a ticket for him in the same auction. So that's it a lot of preparation and a lot of money for one space flight that is essentially last as long as a really good meatloaf song, maybe the album version, but what comes after this for blue origin? Well, the company hopes, this is the first of many flights for new shepherd taking tourist astronauts and private payloads up into space. The company is also working on a heavy lift orbital rocket named new Len, [00:04:00] but that spacecraft has been set back a little blue origin lost out on a NASA contract to use the rocket in the Artis program. That contract went to the SpaceX Starship, meaning test flights for new Glen have been pushed back to 2022. So for now blue origin space endeavors will be limited to flights just past the edge of in new shepherd, which brings us to our next billionaire Richard Branson and Virgin galactic Branson might have been the first billionaire to space, but [00:04:30] it also depends how you define space on July 11, Branson flew with three other crew members aboard Virgin galactic spaceship to unity, but I'm like blue origins. Speaker 1: Rocket unity is actually a rocket powered space plane. So instead of launching from the ground, it was carried into the air by another aircraft. When they got to 45,000 feet, unity dropped away, fired its rockets and then began its vertical ascent into space. Unity climbed to an AGY of [00:05:00] 282,000 feet or 86 kilometers giving the crew a few minutes of weightlessness on the edge of space before it landed a short time later, I say edge of space because that's the part that's been up for debate Virgin galactic. Doesn't actually go beyond the common line. That line at a hundred kilometers. That's recognized by many countries as the edge of space. Virgin only goes to 86 kilometers by comparison. Blue origin goes to 105 kilometers [00:05:30] and it doesn't want anyone to forget that. In fact, blue origin took a swipe at Virgin on Twitter saying it's unity. Speaker 1: Astronauts would need an asterisk next to their names for its part. The federal aviation administration gives astronaut wings to anyone who flies above 50 miles or about 86 kilometers above earth. So Richard Branson and his crew got their wings. And anyway, Virgin seems to be much more interested in the space tourism game. The livestream of Branson's launch was essentially [00:06:00] one big ad for jet powered joy rides. Okay. So Virgin and blue origin are battling it out around the common line, but where does this leave? SpaceX? Well, they've got their eyes much higher in the skies. SpaceX already sent its first humans into space. In 2020, they launched in the crew dragon capsule, a top the Falcon nine orbital class rocket and traveled 400 kilometers above earth to the international space station. SpaceX has also used its Falcon nine reusable rocket [00:06:30] to send fleets of styling satellites into low earth orbit. Speaker 1: And then it has the star ship. After a few you crashes, sorry, rapid unscheduled dis assemblies. The Starship is now preparing for its first orbital flight on top of the Falcon heavy rocket from there, SpaceX is eyeing the moon and beyond. In fact, the company has already won a NASA contract to use its Starship, to send humans to the moon as part of the Artemis mission. But with all these lofty goals, [00:07:00] it doesn't mean that SpaceX's billionaire inchi is gonna lose out on his moment in the sun. After watching Richard Branson saw into space or the edge of it, at least Elon Musk reportedly bought a ticket on board Virgin galactic. So he'll get a chance to experience microgravity for himself of of course, Senate will be covering Jeff Bezos's flight live. You can watch the live stream from 4:30 AM Pacific time on July 20 on senate.com and on our YouTube channel. And in the lead up to the 6:00 AM launch, [00:07:30] we'll be there with the live show, covering all the exciting developments on the ground. I'll see you there.

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