The billionaire’s short journey into space on Tuesday Jeff Bezos, Launched on Blue Origin’s New Shepherd’s spacecraft, is another historic event that makes the phrase ‘until the age of 21 reaches the moon’ something that may yet happen. If this is possible, it will be thanks to the process that has taken place in recent years in which space has become a field of study of countries and governments to a field in which entrepreneurs and private companies also take part.
In addition to Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, the company’s first manned flight into space also included his brother Mark, an 82-year-old astronaut named Wall Punk and an 18-year-old named Oliver Damen. Ten minutes later the four returned to Earth in peace. The whole event actually opened up the company’s space tourism program for anyone whose dream it is.
Nine days earlier it was the billionaire Richard Branson Who became the first billionaire to fly into space in the space plane developed by the company Virgin Galactic, which he owns.
According to White Ran, CEO of the Ramon Foundation and head of the “Sky” mission, One of the differences between Branson and Bezos ‘flights is that Virgin Galactic had pilots, similar to the plane, while Blue Origin had no pilots: “Bezos’ flight was more interesting Also due to the relatively short time it took them to develop the launcher, a few years, and also due to the fact that they were ready already last year, but had to postpone due to the corona. There were those who compared Branson and Bezos’ flights to the first flights to space and even to Apollo 11. They actually opened the door to private manned flights. “
So how did space become so accessible? “In the past, space was the sole domain of governments,” she says Inbal Kreis, Director of the scientific mission of “Sky” and director of the Innovation Center of the Aerospace Systems Division. “One can look, for example, at the late Ilan Ramon, who was sent by the state on a mission, while today, even in the United States, there is a trend in which everything passes into private hands, and there is no such thing as a national mission.
The launch of the “Genesis” spacecraft (a spacecraft developed by SpaceIL and launched to the moon in February 2019, but crashed while trying to land on it in April 2019) was a private task, although in Israel everything immediately becomes a “national mission” and encourages people. ” .
Alongside the historic launches of Bezos and Branson, there is the SpaceX company, founded by Elon Musk with the goal of lowering space transportation costs, which focuses more on astronauts and less on space tourism. As is well known, the businessman Ethan Steve Paid $ 50 million to take off next October for the International Space Station in the “X” Dragon spacecraft as part of the “Sky” mission, thus becoming the second Israeli astronaut.
“It’s important to separate the types of missions – what Branson and Bezos did is different from the missions that arrive at the International Space Station,” Kreis says. “There is a significant difference between them. Eitan Steve’s groundbreaking mission is a private one, but he is an astronaut – he has undergone extensive training to do so. Feeling the experience of a lack of gravity is one thing, but flying into space as astronauts is another matter, not a matter of money “Those who dream of doing so in the coming years will be able to take a loan from the bank and do it for a few hundred thousand dollars. The whole issue of space tourism will be more accessible and much more common in the coming years, certainly when building a private space station.”
“The flights of Branson and Bezos are not the flights of the private astronauts that arrive at the International Space Station. It is very different,” says Livna. “Unlike the two billionaires’ missions, Ethan Steve’s mission is a professional mission, not one that aims to hover a little in space and return to Earth. He has gone through thousands of hours of training, some at NASA and SpaceX, and some elsewhere in the world. “This mission requires astronauts to perform scientific experiments and operate complex systems, not just reach space and return, which is what makes it much more fascinating, with the eyes of hundreds or thousands of scientists and entrepreneurs from around the world looking at it to perform the experiments.”
The feeling of levitation
So what does the future hold for the individual who dreams of reaching space?
“So far, we can count a double-digit number of people who have been awarded the title of ‘space tourists,’ and their number is expected to increase in the coming years,” says Kreis. “I estimate that a flight like Branson’s will become available to the general public in about two or three years. The missions will be shorter, and their total cost will decrease.”
“For several years now, there has been talk that in the next decade, more than 100 private individuals will go into space – for flights like Bezos’ – and a few dozen more to the International Space Station,” says Livna. “Dozens of people have already bought tickets for these future flights. In 10-15 years from now, at the beginning of the next decade or at the end of the current one, I estimate that the price has dropped to a level of thousands of dollars. It would be reasonable – I would definitely like to fly, it’s a dream come true. “
“It’s a matter of money and everyone’s aspirations. You really see that space is becoming more accessible and space flights are also for recreational purposes, and not just for scientific and educational purposes,” Kreis concludes. “People want to feel the feeling of levitation and see the earth from a distance. It’s a great experience, a lot of people tell Eitan (Steve – Sen) that they would take turns with him. The thought of it excites people. ”