It’s no secret that a number of the members of the annual Forbes Billionaires list are aiming for the stars. Just Google “billionaire space race” and you will find a wealth of articles touching on the billionaires dreaming big.
Elon Musk is the most famous in the race, having founded SpaceX, which to date has seen over two dozen successful missions. But there are three other big billionaire players. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the founder of Blue Origin, which is already launching and landing rockets as it prepares for its first customers. Virgin CEO Richard Branson is the founder of Virgin Galactic, whose SpaceShipTwo spacecraft for passengers is currently in the test phase. Virgin Galactic recently spun off a new company, Virgin Orbit, which is developing the LauncherOne spacecraft for satellites. Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen has founded Vulcan Aerospace, whose first spacecraft is in development but nearing completion for testing.
But a slew of newfound tech millionaires and billionaires making their way into space is a much older story. Look back to the late 1990s, and you’ll find a slew of space companies that tried and failed to get off the ground. So what’s different today? There’s a market.