The Space Tourism Race
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
In a competition reminiscent of the US vs. USSR “space race” of the 1950s and 1960s, “Blue Origin” and “Space X” are vying for future commercial space travel. Blue Origin struck the a blow with the November 23, 2015 launch and touchdown of its latest rocket in Van Horn, Texas.
Blue Origin is the brainchild of Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, which is the world’s largest online retail business. Founded in 2000, Blue Origin is headquartered in Kent, Washington (near Seattle), maintains operational facilities in Van Horn, Texas and is developing additional operational facilities at the Air Force station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The company’s mission is the development of private, reliable, relatively inexpensive space travel. The Company’s web site can be accessed here: https://www.blueorigin.com/
Blue Origin is making full use of YouTube, with its own dedicated YouTube channel. One can see the November 23rd touchdown and the elation of hundreds of scientists on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igEWYbnoHc4 Other examples of Blue Origin’s accomplishments can be viewed on the Company’s YouTube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/blueoriginchannel
In an example of great minds thinking alike, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002. Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, SpaceX is dedicated to reducing the costs of space travel and is particularly focused on colonizing Mars. (Yes; the planet.) The Company’s web site can be accessed here: http://www.spacex.com/
Musk congratulated Bezos for the November 23, 2015 launch and return in a predictably tepid manner, characterizing the rocket as a “booster” and carefully noting the difference between a mere orbit and space.
Despite Musk’s lukewarm remarks, Blue Origin’s accomplishment is notable because its “New Shepard” rocket is the first completely reusable rocket. According to Bezos, “Reusability is a total game changer…It changes the cost structure of space travel completely,” making space travel far more affordable.
The affordability of private space travel is still difficult to gauge, as neither company has published ticket prices to date.
By Kathy Catanzarite
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