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Who are the winners in the space travel betting industry?
Man has been fascinated with outer space even before the development of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It was during the European Renaissance period where the advancement of science flourished. During this time, people discovered the fundamental physical laws that have control of the orbits of planets around the sun and other planetary motions. Astronomers also used the telescope in the 17th century to study the heavens and made some crucial discoveries.
The United States would later send expeditions of humans to explore the moon using automated spacecraft. These machines eventually reached Mars and Venus, orbited around the sun, studied its environment, observed Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and surveyed asteroids and comets.
These voyages helped humankind in expanding knowledge and understanding of our solar system and beyond. The development of spacecraft paved the way for numerous discoveries that were merely indistinct points of light for the past centuries. There were also dozens of unknown objects discovered. The Project Mercury was the earliest manned space flight in 1958, followed by the Project Gemini in 1962.
Space exploration became a contest for the superpower nations as they compete for being the most advanced with achieving new heights in technology. The United States made an important space mission for humanity by sending the first man on the moon on July 20, 1969. Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin were the first astronauts to land on the moon. There were other series of flights to the moon, then progressed to explorations on other planets. The 20th century accomplished much remarkable progress with space explorations in our solar system.
Humanity has achieved so much in space exploration already. With all the discoveries and new information that we produced for space science, many people are hoping for the possibility of civilian space travel. To see the space in real life would be a great opportunity for many individuals as we see it in space documentation and films.
Some companies are making this dream a reality with the help of a number of big names that provide the funds for this project. Space travel for civilians is now becoming a competition among these popular people who make this milestone a possibility.
The rise of private spaceflight companies is founded by visionaries who can spare some of their finances to boost space travel a reality. Here are some of the biggest names and bettors in the space travel industry:
Elon Musk may probably be the most recognizable advocate of spaceflight for civilians, as this billionaire performs the duties of a CTO and CEO of SpaceX that they started in 2001. NASA awarded their company in 2006 its first contract and has made progress since. The company now has almost 5,000 employees with a value of around $12 billion.
The company also suffered some high-profile troubles like the crash landing of the Falcon 9 reusable rocket and the explosion of one of their rockets while still on the launchpad, which caused a $200 million damage on a communications satellite.
Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon and also has his interests in spaceflight for civilians. He started discussing Blue Origin, which is a space travel company that aims to create spaceflight available for most people. The company issued a statement about their new 270-foot-tall rocket, which they named the New Glenn. The rocket contains a reusable booster that uses a retired launchpad located at Cape Canaveral.
Bezos stated that many people would want to go to Mars and beyond. He aims to lower the cost of spaceflight so that it would be possible for others to achieve it.
Richard Branson created the Virgin Galactic but suffered an unfortunate development when it came apart while on a test flight. But his company’s perseverance to fulfill space travel governs as they are initiated with their test flights after the horrific incident. The accident killed one pilot and delayed the succeeding scheduled test flights. As they continued their space travel project, hundreds of people volunteered and signed up for the space flight that cost some of them an amount of $250,000 to travel 62 miles above our planet with five minutes of experiencing weightlessness.
Branson fulfilled his dream of blasting off to space, effectively beating his closest rival Jeff Bezos by only nine days. Initially, it was reported that Bezos would be the first one to reach space. But, Branson was able to rain on his parade when he moved up his flight on July 11 of this year.
Along with five crewmates, Branson was able to reach 53 miles in altitude over the desert of New Mexico. The team experienced roughly three to four minutes of weightlessness. His efforts were proven to be enough to count him as an astronaut.
In a statement after the event, Branson shared, “Seventeen years of hard work to get us this far. We are at the vanguard of a new industry determined to pioneer twenty-first-century spacecraft, which will open space to everybody — and change the world for good.”
Many space travel bettors were extremely disappointed by Branson’s sneaky move as many oddsmakers released prop bets on Bezos beating Branson. Still, many raised the bets that Bezos will outdo Branson in terms of minutes spent in space and the altitude to which Bezos will reach.
Mark Zuckerberg is also among the billionaires willing to bet on space travel. He has previously worked along with the late Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner on the Starshot Project. In contrast to the other space travel bettors, Zuckerberg and his team’s goal was to send small robots to the vast reaches of space, such as the Alpha Centauri, known to be about 25 million miles away. These people want to investigate what potential secrets the universe holds.
In general, those who want to reach Alpha Centauri would need about 30,000 years to complete. This is something impossible considering a person’s lifetime. However, the project aims to trim the travel time to only 20 years. It is for the same reason Zuckerberg and his team would only send robots. By installing small processor chips, power supply, navigation equipment, and camera, teams on the ground can monitor the journey. Through the same technology, the robots can travel at one-quarter of the speed of light.
Among those interested in space travel, it seems that Robert Bigelow is the one with the most genuine interest. While he may be a successful hotelier, his fascination for space travel began early in his life. It was pretty impressive that he did not give up on his dream that by 1999, he was able to build Bigelow Aerospace. Bigelow Aerospace focuses on creating habitats for astronauts or other individuals (i.e., private stations) while they are in space. It’s like owning real estate in space.
In 2013, Bigelow worked with NASA to explore the technology’s potential. The technology gears towards creating inflatable modules with foam layer insulations and bullet-resistant fabric. This material allows it to be compressed in a small cargo and delivered to space. This is a revolutionary product as it is more convenient compared to bringing fixed-sized modules.
To date, the company is working towards human exploration and resource recovery in the Low Earth Orbit, deep space, Mars, and the moon.
Many may know James Cameron as a world-class filmmaker, but he is also a space travel investor. In 2012, Cameron invested in Planetary Resources, which aims to mine asteroids from space using robotic ships. Cameron and Larry Page believe they can get precious metals, such as platinum, gold, and silver from asteroids.
The company previously said they had released their first test spacecraft but made no announcements whether the mission was successful or not.
Another space travel enthusiast is Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. He was the only investor to put confidence in Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne. The said project won the 2004 Ansari x Prize competition. It wasn’t enough for Allen as he also teamed up with Rutan to build Stratolaunch Systems, which focuses on making jet aircraft with a wingspan of 385 feet. The goal is to bring rockets to a high altitude before launch. This will help lessen the effects of the Earth’s gravity from using up fuel.
In addition, starting the launch from a high altitude will also help delays due to bad weather or the unavailability of launchpad locations.
If there’s a powerful team that sums up space travel, it would be the Moon Express. This private venture was founded by billionaire Naveen Jain, who worked with space technology expert Barney Pell and space futurist Bob Richards. They have successfully opened up the competition for space exploration through their expertise and resources by commercializing space travel.
Moon Express is the first private organization with government approval to provide space travel beyond the Earth’s orbit. They are also recognized for offering deep space missions.
If you sum up the list, you will see that billionaires have the freedom and luxury to bet on space travel. While avid bettors can only bet from the sidelines to see which of these moneyed entrepreneurs will win, it can be a fun experience to watch big players spend their money on being the first and the best in space travel.