Capitalism in space: An American billionaire has purchased an entire SpaceX Dragon flight and Falcon 9 launch, set for sometime in October ’21, with the goal of using the publicity of the flight to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Besides fulfilling his dream of flying in space, Jared Isaacman announced Monday that he aims to use the private trip to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, half coming from his own pockets.
A health care worker for St. Jude already has been selected for the mission. Anyone donating to St. Jude in February will be entered into a random drawing for seat No. 3. The fourth seat will go to a business owner who uses Shift4 Payments, Isaacman’s credit card processing company in Allentown, Pennsylvania
This flight means that SpaceX is likely going to have at about five commercial manned flights in the next year, three by NASA, one by Axiom to ISS, and Isaacman’s above. Moreover, none include the flights by various entertainers and reality show producers who have been rumored as being interesting in buying tickets. Nor does this include the tourism flights the Russians are planning in the next year.
All told, these flights strongly suggest that there is a very healthy market for commercial manned spaceflight, a market that can only grow once Boeing finally enters the market with its Starliner capsule.
I must also add that we have been waiting for commercial space tourism flights for almost sixteen years, since Richard Branson began promising them on his suborbital SpaceShipTwo back in 2004. Never happened, and now seems very second class in comparison to the pending orbital flights. As the article at the link says disparagingly about Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin’s suborbital craft, they “will just briefly skim the surface of space.”
Both Branson and Bezos had a window to make suborbital space tourism pay off. Neither stepped through it.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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