Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are set to launch within weeks of each other, but the exact limit and experience of their spaceflight has become a point of contention.
Branson’s Virgin Galactic flies above 80 kilometers, which is the altitude the United States recognizes as the limit of space, while Bezos’ Blue Origin flies above 100 kilometers, which is commonly referred to as the Karman line.
After Branson said he planned to launch just nine days before Bezos’ previously announced space flight, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith denounced Virgin Galactic’s approach as “a very different experience” because “they do not fly over the Kármán line ”.
Branson plans to launch Virgin Galactic’s fourth space flight test to date on Sunday. He founded the company 17 years ago and is now trying to complete development testing this year so that he can start flying space tourism passengers in early 2022. Bezos Blue Origin has goals beyond tourism , but the billionaire is also aiming to fly to the space edge during the company’s first crewed launch on July 20.
When the two tech giants take flight aboard these two rockets, the hopes and dreams of a burgeoning space industry will also fly with them.
Indeed, the space tourism market will grow by $ 5.2 billion over the next four years, with Virgin Galactic along with Blue Origin, SpaceX and other companies vying for bigger pieces of the pie.