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The Space Race: Bezos vs. Branson

Space Shuttle In The Rays Of Sun. 3D Illustration. NASA Images Not Used.

A new race for commercial space travel has begun amongst two big-time millionaires.

Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, completed his first successful trip to space on July 11, 2021. Jeffrey Bezos, founder of Amazon and Blue Origin, landed from his trip into space on the morning of July 20, 2021.

The main differences between these space trips would be their take-off locations, models, trip durations, participants and methods in which they used to get there. However, the goals of each flight were ultimately similar.

Here are the main differences broken down.

Take Off

A key difference is the take-off location.

Bezos’ flight took off from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site while Branson’s took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Models and Altitudes

Bezos had selected the model of a capsule named “First Step” on top of a rocket named “New Shepard” that reached a maximum altitude of 66.5 miles. Virgin Galactic’s Unity used VMS Eve to fly about 53 miles above the Earth’s surface. This model takes the design of a winged space plane with a single rocket motor that gets air launched into space while Bezos’ model took on a more traditional rocket approach.

Trip Duration

The duration of each trip was significantly different. Blue Origin’s trip took about 10 minutes while Virgin Galactic’s went on for around 90 minutes.

Participants

Bezos brought his brother, Mark Bezos on his voyage to space. Additionally, history was made when he also brought along the youngest and oldest people to ever fly in space, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen and 82-year-old Wally Funk.
Branson brought Virgin Galactic employees Beth Moses, Colin Bennett, and Sirisha Bandla, along with pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci with him on board.

The main difference here is autonomous versus space crew.

Similar Goals

Despite their differences, each trip had intentions of progressing our perspective as space as we know it. These passages have opened doors for humans to experience the unknown.

The ultimate goal of each mission was to solidify commercial space travel and allow for a couple of minutes of freedom from gravity.

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Written by Alina Hoarau

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