Let’s compare the capabilities of 3 companies in this fertile race.
Billionaires Bezos, Branson and Musk have invested billions of dollars in their space startups. And of course it will cost a decent amount to become its customer.
Billionaires pour huge investments into their space companies.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company is said to have 600 tickets booked – at $250,000 each. The company plans to start offering full commercial service in 2022 and hopes to bring ticket prices down to around $40,000.
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is planning to charge each passenger between $200,000-300,000. This is not cheap, but much softer than the price for accompanying passengers on the first Blue Origin flight – $ 28 million on the auction floor.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has already sent a crew to the International Space Station and is expected to send a crew of civilians into orbit in September. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will orbit the moon by SpaceX’s upcoming Starship rocket in 2023.
Virgin Galactic’s reusable SpaceShip Two system consists of the VSS Unity space plane, which is lifted to the desired height by a larger carrier called VMS Eve, and then disassembled.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule and rocket complex was launched into suborbital space before separating. The booster part will return to the launch pad, while the pressurized compartment carrying the crew will parachute back to earth. This compartment has up to 6 observation windows.
Interior of Blue Origin’s New Shepard.
The capsule of the SpaceX Dragon is located on top of the Falcon rocket, which can be reused. However, it will come with more modest arched windows for observing the world.
Virgin Galactic’s space plane can hold six passengers: two crew members and four technical experts.
Meanwhile, Blue Origin’s ship can carry 6 passengers and fly fully autonomously. It is known that singer Justin Bieber will be a passenger on this train.
The space shuttle SpaceX Dragon can accommodate up to 7 people. However, the flights planned so far have only four crew members.
Virgin Galactic’s space plane.
Richard Branson’s company boasts a flight time of about 90 minutes from takeoff to landing, including several minutes of weightlessness.
Blue Origin’s suborbital space voyage will last about 10 minutes after separating from the booster. The people on board also enjoyed a few minutes of weightlessness and seeing the curvature of the planet before returning to the ground.
SpaceX missions are expected to last from 3-4 days from launch to landing.
In accordance with the entrepreneurial spirit of billionaire Branson, Virgin Galactic is invested by issuing shares. Shares of this company peaked at nearly $60 after the US Federal Aviation Administration approved it in June 2021.
Meanwhile, Blue Origin is privately owned by Amazon founder Bezos. He used to sell about $1 billion worth of Amazon stock annually to fund the project.
SpaceX is also privately owned and has raised billions of dollars in funding sessions. Key investors include Alphabet and Fidelity. Musk said the revenue from SpaceX’s astronaut passengers will go to make flights to the moon and Mars.