The recent publicity as three billionaires competed to send people into the upper boundary of what is conventionally considered the earth’s atmosphere, thus into “space,” was not simply a matter of the competing egos of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson. Each of the billionaires has a plan to monetize the private sector exploration of space. In recent weeks, it has become clearer what Jeff Bezos’ plan is.
NASA now wants to de-emphasize operations in low-earth orbit, and to focus its own budget and energies on the Artemis Program, a long-term presence on the Moon, and on an eventual human presence on Mars.
NASA will be happy to leave the maintenance of low-earth orbit posts to private companies.
Strange New Worlds:
Accordingly, NASA is now preparing to retire its International Space Station, renting room as necessary on a private-sector satellite instead.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, publisher of The Washington Post, and guiding spirit of the spaceflight company Blue Origin, proposes to become the government’s landlord. Blue Origin will create a “mixed use business park” in space, a space station to be called Orbital Reef. Bezos is convinced he will find other lessees, too, including tourism companies and movie production crews.