With the launch of the suborbital flights of Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin there have been a lot of online and offline conversations around how society should look at these initiatives, positively or negatively.
They do represent a good example to evaluate the interactions and the implications of allocating private wealth, and driving a common policy.
Space exploration for many decades was the exclusive purvey of nation states. With the end of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union on one side and the United States on the other agreed to collaborate on the next Generation Space Station, the ISS. I remember specifically talking to Burt Rutan, the inventor of the space plane that today we call Virgin Galactic: he was complaining that the Russians were better capitalists than the Americans because you could buy a ticket to space from them, and you couldn’t buy it from NASA.
SpaceX, if successful, with its Starship initiative will have certainly demonstrated the ability to push the boundaries into deep space exploration, at the same level as the National Space agencies, alongside its ultimate mission of colonizing Mars.
Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, with their suborbital flight programs are satisfying a clear market need. There are a lot of people who signed up for future flights. The technological advantages gained by a sustained ability of every cheaper flight are going to be numerous.
Do you want to save the world? Go do it, and don’t tell others what they should be doing instead.
Do you despise billionaires, and their wealth? Vote for representatives that will legislate towards a progressive taxation that will eliminate future accumulation of wealth.
In the meantime I applaud and congratulate both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin for their achievements. But especially keep an eye on SpaceX and their most ambitious purpose to make humanity a multi-planetary species.