For the very few of our planet’s billionaires who can afford to tackle space travel, their journeys are not always that easy. We see who is battling it out for their place in the galaxy and how successful they have been….
Perhaps the most successful of the “space billionaires” so far, the Amazon founder’s company Blue Origin has managed to successfully launch and land a reusable rocket. The company’s New Shepard model (named after the first American in space, Alan Shepard), reached a height of 62 miles, before successfully landing back on Earth. Bezos is now allegedly planning commercial suborbital flights to start as early as 2017. Watch this space….
If revolutionising the way we fuel our cars and shop online wasn’t enough, the Tesla and PayPal founder has his sights set firmly on space, with his company SpaceX. However, two attempts to land SpaceX’s Falcon 9 model ended unsuccessfully, leaving the company facing further setbacks (although rumours abound that they have tentatively scheduled another launch next month – particularly as the second attempt encouragingly saw Falcon 9 just 10 metres short of its target).
The Virgin boss is well-known for his love of adventure and, after deciding that the sky isn’t quite the limit, set up Virgin Galactic to take tourists to space. Despite already having taken bookings from big names including Leonardo di Caprio and Lady Gaga, the company seems to be light years away from making this a reality. Following a disaster in 2007 that killed three engineers on the ground, the company suffered a further fatal setback when a launch last year claimed the life of one of the test pilots on-board. Whilst a new launch date is yet to be announced, the company has been quick to point out that flight testing is “the tip of the iceberg,” adding there “is a huge base of support that is required to ensure each of those test flights is successful.” One small step at a time….