Friday, 30 Jul 2021

Billionaire tycoons set for joyrides to space

British billionaire Richard Branson of the Virgin Group on Sunday (July 11) became the first, but not the last, to make it to space and back, getting a taste of the “private astronaut experience”.

Here are a few more wealthy, space-bound tourists set to follow in taking similarly giant leaps for mankind, when they take their own commercial trips beyond Earth’s atmosphere:

Jeff Bezos


Jeff Bezos addresses the media about the New Shepard rocket booster and Crew Capsule mockup at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. PHOTO: REUTERS

Who: Founder of Amazon, one of the world’s largest companies. He also founded space tourism venture Blue Origin in 2000.

Estimated net worth: US$201 billion (S$271.65 billion)

Flight date: July 20. Mr Bezos will embark on a space flight with his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Wally Funk and the winner of an online auction, who will be named later.

Ticket price: Blue Origin has not announced official prices, but ticket prices are estimated to be US$200,000 to US$300,000.

Elon Musk


Elon Musk speaks during the Satellite 2020 at the Washington Convention Center. PHOTO: AFP

Who: SpaceX chief executive

Estimated net worth: US$162 billion

Flight date: No date set.

Ticket price: Mr Musk reportedly paid a US$10,000 deposit to reserve a seat on a future Virgin Galatic voyage.

Jared Isaacman


Jared Isaacman said the mission was to raise at least US$200 million for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee. PHOTO: JARED ISAACMAN/ TWITTER

Who: Founder and CEO of Pennsylvania-based Shift4 Payments, a payment processing company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Estimated net worth: US$2 billion

Flight date: October 2021

Ticket price: He did not reveal how much he paid for chartering a SpaceX rocket and spacecraft, but said the mission was to raise at least US$200 million for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.

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Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano


Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa (left) and his assistant Yozo Hirano will be the next tourists to travel to the International Space Station. PHOTO: YOZO HIRANO/ INSTAGRAM

Who: Mr Maezawa is a Japanese entrepreneur who founded online fashion store Zozo while Mr Hirano is a film producer who will document Mr Maezawa’s flight.

Estimated net worth: US$2 billion (Mr Maezawa)

Flight date: Dec 8, 2021

Ticket price: Space Adventures, a space tourism company, did not disclose how much the trip to the International Space Station (ISS) it is planning for Mr Maezawa will cost the billionaire, who will also be sponsoring Mr Hirano’s trip.

Previous space tourists have reportedly paid between US$20 million and US$40 million.

Mr Maezawa is also scheduled to go around the Moon on a SpaceX flight in 2023.

Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe


PHOTO: 
@XIOM_SPACE/ TWITTER

Who: Mr Connor is an American entrepreneur while Canadian Mr Pathy and Israeli Mr Stibbe are both investors and philanthropist.

Estimated net worth: Not available

Flight date: By January 2022

Ticket price: US$55 million each to stay at the ISS for eight days.

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