Jeff Bezos and the Future of Space Tourism
On Tuesday, Jeff Bezos, the former CEO of Amazon and the richest man in the world, took an 11 minute trip to space in a suborbital rocket system. The capsule that sent Bezos and three other passengers to space is called “New Shepard” created by Blue Origin, an aerospace manufacturing, and spaceflight company, and made what once seemed impossible a reality.
Bezos exited earth’s boundary with his brother Mark, Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk, an 82-year-old former astronaut who was previously not given the opportunity to go to space as a woman, and Oliver Daemen, the first paying traveler, and eighteen-year-old whose father purchased his ticket for millions of dollars. The New Shepard so far has been reserved for those who participated in Blue Origin’s auction earlier last month.
Bezos and his flight to space have opened up new avenues and possibilities for the future of space travel and tourism. Blue Origin’s idea with the precedent of the New Shepard is to begin introducing tourism to those rich, adrenaline-seeking individuals in the coming months or years.
Additionally, the flight showcases the competition and commitment of top billionaires such as Elon Musk to making space travel accessible. With Bezos as a passenger, the space flight on Tuesday was a show of confidence and hopes for future prospects that space tourism will become a hugely profitable, billions-of-dollars industry within the next few years.
The New Shepard and its recent voyage to space did not come without much criticism. The prospect of billionaires being able to blast off to space as their own personal escape from the ongoing climate crisis on Earth as well as accessibility made only to the top 1% of individuals has made the trip a heavily debated topic. Still, Bezos and Blue Origin claim their plans are to “democratize” space and make it available to regular everyday people, a feat that has never been done before. However, the question still remains whether such an incredible creation and escape from the deteriorating earth will only be there for billionaires, leaving the rest of humanity behind.
The space tourism industry remains a hotly discussed topic that has many unanswered questions, but the future of its success looks promising especially with all the time, resources, and research being put into its creation.