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Allen, Bezos, Branson, Musk: A New Space Race

Allen, Bezos, Branson, Musk: A New Space Race

NASA is headed toward irrelevance. The future of space exploration will be done by private companies. The early pioneers include:

  • Paul Allen (money from Microsoft) – founder and CEO of Vulcan Inc, including a division known as Vulcan Aerospace, and its subsidiary, Stratolaunch Systems, which is developing an air launch vehicle capable of carrying an orbital launch package to high altitude before releasing it
  • Jeff Bezos (money from Amazon) – founder and owner of Blue Origin spaceflight company which is developing its New Shepherd spacecraft, a reusable vehicle working up from suborbital flight to orbital
  • Richard Branson (money from Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic Airways) – founder and chairman of Virgin Galactic, which is developing a suborbital spaceplane called SpaceShipTwo, which is released from a cargo aircraft called White Knight Two
  • Elon Musk (money from PayPal) – founder and CEO of SpaceX, which is developing the Falcon line of boost rockets, including a recoverable first stage which has been successfully landed on barges in the ocean after flight

Other private space flight companies include: Bigelow Aerospace, Orbital ATK, and Sierra Nevada Corporation.

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