Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk: Here’s the Real Winner in the Race for Space. Trio net worth of GDP more than Ireland roughly $400 billion are fulfilling their dreams trips in space.
Here’s where each stands:
- Branson will take off in a matter of hours as I write this. He and his fellow travelers will ultimately ascend to about 55 miles above the surface of the Earth for their suborbital journey, possibly giving Branson bragging rights for being the first billionaire to reach space.
- I say “possibly,” because later this month, Bezos plans to fly aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard, along with his brother Mark Bezos, original Mercury 13 aviator Wally Funk, and the winner of a $28 million auction. If all goes according to plan, they’ll reach about 65 miles above the Earth — also a suborbital trip.
As Bezos’s Blue Origin has taken to repeating, however, the 10 miles or so might make a big difference, because New Shepard will pass the Karman line, 62 miles above the Earth, and Unity won’t.
This is where international aeronautic and astronautic federations in Europe recognize the official boundary between the Earth and space. Other arbiters, such as NASA and the U.S. Air Force, put the space boundary at just 50 miles; so it’s not a settled question