Both launches of Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson and Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos are weeks apart. Also, the boundaries for both are different, with Branson’s Galactic going 80 kilometers above the earth and Bezos’s Blue Origin going to fly 100 kilometers from earth into space.
Billionaire’s fight to get into space is getting competitive. Virgin Galactic had a successful flight on July 11, making it a historic moment. Till that moment no one except astronauts or pilots went into space, and nobody went for space tourism to feel the space. Not long ago, did everyone believe that Jeff Bezos is the one to break the ice in space tourism. But Richard Branson’s 17 years of hard work paid off first, just weeks before Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin launch on July 20.
Both the launches revolve around a similar story, about wanting to go to space ever since a kid. And feel the space, look at the earth from high above. However, Bezo’s Blue origin will be 100 kilometers up into the sky. But Virgin Galactic was 80 kilometers. Both orbits are to fly only to the suborbital of the earth, where passengers experience microgravity at the edge of space. Usually, the orbital flight would include tens or months of space travel for astraunats.
An astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, McDowell notes, “20% higher and may be noticeable to passengers but not dramatic. I think experientially, it’s going to be rather similar. The important thing is: [The difference] is somewhat arbitrary.” Furthermore, he emphasizes that “it’s actually not really right to say the rest of the world recognizes 100 kilometers.”
From the beginning, New Shepard was designed to fly above the Kármán line so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name. For 96% of the world’s population, space begins 100 km up at the internationally recognized Kármán line. pic.twitter.com/QRoufBIrUJ
In the end, Blue Origin reached the Karman line, which is not an international law yet. And though people may or may not find much difference, the US recognizes the difference. Back in the 1960s, any rocket which could go beyond 80 kilometers was awarded. Now, the US is resisting to come to a specific space law agreement on space boundaries. In general that gives the country an upper hand to go further as much as they want.
Furthermore, as Blue Origin reminds people of the Karman line, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is offering regular people to go to space. The ticket usually costs around $250,000 or more. As their concept is about commercializing space travel, the free win ticket is attractive. Known as Sweepstakes, the lottery will end on September 1st and the winner will be announced by September 19th.
If not for the competition Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin rocket, New Shepard, the free ticket possibly might not have happened. And we are yet to watch what Jeff Bezos is going to offer.