The world is enthusiastically watching the development of the space industry. Alpha launches from Firefly Aerospace and Orion are in the works, as well as Crew Dragon lift-offs with space tourists.
Max Polyakov, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk are constantly investing money and resources into space exploration. They each espouse a different ideology and purpose – from the colonization of the Moon and space tourism to the salvation of all humanity.
Who, namely, are the main drivers in today’s space exploration race? Who among them has been lionized in books? Which of them is exploring Space?
The most popular pioneer, of course, is Musk. He is known for his antics, such as Tesla aboard the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. That launch was watched live on YouTube by 2.3 million people. Only Felix Baumgartner, who jumped from the stratosphere in 2012, had more views. Some 8 million people watched the leap online.
In 2020, SpaceX will celebrate its eighteenth anniversary. According to Musk, the company was created to reduce the cost of space flight and to preserve humankind on Earth and beyond. He also talks about colonizing Mars and immediately warns that thousands of Starship missiles with equipment and resources must be launched. The first manned flights into orbit are planned for the middle of this year.
Colonization will not happen quickly, because Earth and Mars are only a short distance away every two years. According to TechCrunch, in 2022 SpaceX plans to send the first cargo ship to Mars. The manned mission won’t launch before 2024.
Musk also wants to develop space tourism. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has already announced he will be the first tourist onboard Starship.
Sir Richard Branson is more associated with space tourism. According to various estimates, the British billionaire’s company Virgin Galactic has already sold from 500 to 1,000 tickets for a tourist suborbital flight on a Virgin ship. The cost of a ticket is $250,000.
The Under Armor sportswear brand has even introduced a special outfit for space tourists.
The inner pocket of the spacesuit is specially designed for a photo of the passenger’s relatives, and the name and flag of their country will be proudly displayed.
The flight will last 2.5 hours, of which 5 to 6 minutes will be in weightlessness. The spacecraft can carry up to 8 people, 2 pilots, and 6 passengers.
The itinerary will consist of an ascent up to a 16-kilometer mark. Then SpaceShipTwo will undock from the WhiteKnightTwo accelerator and move on its own.
Branson is often called eccentric, outrageous and someone who “loves to bathe in the rays of glory.” He hasn’t explained what’s behind his passion for space tourism. Some think he is in it for the hype, while others posit he just loves basking in the limelight.
Blue Origin owner Jeff Bezos claims that space is the most important job he does. In second place is Amazon, which has made him the richest man in the world. Every year, the entrepreneur sells shares of the company to finance Blue Origin.
At first, Bezos tried to make money on space tourism. He later changed his mind to focus on the conquest of the Moon. He stated that he would start moving people there in the next 10 years. He is planning the gradual transfer of heavy production to Earth’s satellite. The billionaire believes that our planet is created for human habitation and should only be a place for light industry.
Experts call Blue Origin’s idea of Moon colonization more real than SpaceX’s idea of Mars colonization. There are calls for Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to join forces to create a space station on the Moon. That would make future colonization of Mars more feasible.
At the same time, Bezos does not abandon plans for space tourism. Together with Branson’s Virgin Galactic, he plans to transport people to the first suborbital hotel, named Aurora Station.
Max Polyakov, the owner of Firefly Aerospace and head of Noosphere Ventures, has a different opinion about Earth. The Noosphere Ventures Foundation invests not only in Firefly Aerospace but in the entire NewSpace vertical: satellite monitoring of EOS Data Analytics and SETS rocket engines.
All space projects of the world are conditionally divided into upstream and downstream. The first involves the production, launch of rockets and spacecraft, while the second is aimed at maximizing the effective use of space data on Earth.
Polyakov, the founder of Firefly Aerospace, has repeatedly emphasized that he “flies into space” not to leave Earth, but on the contrary – to use knowledge and technology to save our planet. He puts his vision into the concept of Earth Observing Visioner.
It is based on global satellite monitoring and analytics tools for various climate, infrastructure, geopolitical and other processes. In other words, space is for Earth, not the other way around.
Firefly Aerospace already has agreements with NASA to deliver a payload to the moon and with the US Air Force on special missions into orbit.
In the future, Noosphere Ventures also plans to produce its own satellites, the final, decisive stage of its NewSpace endeavors.
Firefly Aerospace’s debut commercial launch is scheduled for the first half of 2020 from the launch site of the SLC-2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, which the US Air Force has designated for Firefly. This is the second time a private company has been allowed to operate a spaceport in America.
Where will the diversity lead?
People romanticize about the heavens. They explore and use it. People are in love with Space.
As we can see, everyone has their own plans. Branson is obsessed with space tourism, Musk with the exploration of Mars and Bezos with colonizing the moon. Max Polyakov, a Ukrainian, wants to help Earth “from above” by analyzing space data.
In the space business, as in any other business, people use different approaches to achieve the greatest success. It is difficult to predict whether it will be possible to colonize the Moon and Mars.
But one thing is certain: if we perceive Space not only as an opportunity to earn a lot of money but also as a way to improve people’s lives or avoid natural disasters, then the NewSpace movement has a future for Earth.
Synergy is the only thing that is needed.
Read more: NewSpace Philosophies: Who, How, What?