The New Space Race

Hong Kong Tatler - - Features -

Richard Branson isn’t the only en­tre­pre­neur with his head above the clouds

Vir­gin Galac­tic’s main ri­val in the field of pri­vate space flight is Spacex, founded by Sil­i­con Val­ley guru Elon Musk. Whereas Vir­gin Galac­tic is fo­cus­ing on pas­sen­ger ser­vices, Spacex has been de­vel­op­ing rock­ets and space­craft in col­lab­o­ra­tion with pub­lic agen­cies like Nasa. But Musk has a big­ger tar­get in his sights. In June, he said he wants to send hu­mans to Mars “in 10 to 12 years.” Another com­peti­tor is XCOR Aero­space, a Cal­i­for­nia-based company that has de­vel­oped a space­craft called Lynx, which can take off and land hor­i­zon­tally, much like Vir­gin’s Spaceshiptwo. Lynx can carry just one pas­sen­ger, but its ticket is rel­a­tively more af­ford­able at US$95,000. That’s only marginally more ex­pen­sive than the 30-kilo­me­tre-high bal­loon rides be­ing tested by World View En­ter­prises, which plans to of­fer a four-hour near-space ex­pe­ri­ence for US$75,000.

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