Space ‘tourism’ as performed by a pair of billionaires is, for now, merely an overpriced joyride for the ultra-rich.
Earlier this month, the British billionaire entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, successfully flew to outer space, trailblazing his brand, Virgin Galactic, to the edge of the outer hemisphere. This week, his fellow billionaire, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, took his own Blue Origin spacecraft for a spin to the outer limits, managing to get a whole 10 miles (16km) higher than Sir Richard.
The journeys were heralded as marking a new era of “space tourism”, in which untrained people could become astronauts, a title previously reserved for highly trained professional scientists and pilots, to see the earth’s curvature and enjoy a few minutes of weightlessness. Perfect for that viral Instagram photo for one’s millions of followers.