October 24, 2021

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As space billionaires take flight, ‘the right stuff’ for space travel enters a new era

11 min read


For perhaps the first time, the humans inside a spacecraft will — in a strict financial sense — be worth more than the vehicle itself, as billionaires take to the skies this month in a pair of historic suborbital spaceflights that mark a dramatic change in what it takes to become an astronaut.

On July 11, British business magnate Richard Branson will strap himself into the cabin of the spaceplane VSS Unity, along with three employees of his space tourism company Virgin Galactic. Just over a week later, on July 20, in a move timed to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of Americans first landing on the moon, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will climb into a New Shepard capsule as a passenger on the first crewed flight conducted by his company, Blue Origin.



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