Critics are calling it the “Amazonification of space:” instead of governments sponsoring space exploration, initiatives regarding flights beyond the Earth now appear to have become the province of moguls like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson.
Bezos, founder, former CEO, and primary shareholder of Amazon, has stated that his Blue Origin space flight service is now open for business, citing very high demand for even the possibility of a place on the next flight out.
But for all the congratulations Bezos received (including from rivals Branson and Tesla/SpaceX’s Elon Musk), critics can’t help but feel that this is yet another money-spinning endeavor that will benefit no one except the moguls who hold the technology and infrastructure to make space travel possible for the paying public.
But now, governments across the globe are wondering if the Big Tech players have grown too big for their britches. As a result, governments have been cracking down on Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, and even Twitter, citing how these entities have become too powerful to be controlled.
It’s a situation that legitimate government-run research agencies find galling. NASA, for example, has not received more substantial funding for its exploratory efforts since the moon landing. Indeed, recent events have raised concerns that, if NASA does manage to put another man on the moon, it might only be possible with the assistance of Blue Origin, SpaceX, or Virgin Galactic.
We Do Not Turn Our Noses Up at Help
But NASA is reaping the benefits of teaming up with a private entity for its off-planet endeavors.
In recent years, the agency has come to rely on SpaceX technology for regular supply runs to and from the International Space Station or ferrying astronauts into space or back to earth. Likewise, anyone who wants to launch a satellite into orbit is bound to charter SpaceX’s handy (and reusable) Falcon 9 booster craft for the purpose.
But people still rage against the billionaire space race. There was even a petition demanding that when Bezos flew into space, he ought to stay there, citing the unfair treatment of Amazon employees and how the ecommerce mogul has been accused of longstanding tax evasion. Many critics have gone so far as to say that these flights are nothing more but an ego-boosting PR stunt aimed at making these men richer at the public’s expense.
But Musk has stated time and again that his primary vision for his space endeavors isn’t so much about him, but for finding a viable home on a different planet for the dark day when the earth can no longer support life. For his part, Branson has opened Virgin Galactic flights for legitimate researchers who would, usually, be at the bottom of the list for government funding.
Both are thoroughly noble goals, but people are not bound to forget that these are men behind Big Tech companies. So the space race is on once again – but the world hopes that victory is for humanity and not one man alone.