After Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos both went to space — depending on how you define “space” — within days of each other, in rockets built by their respective companies, outrage activists got upset.
Were people angry when Henry Ford first rode in a Ford automobile, or when Alexander Graham Bell made his first phone call?
It’s not a matter of how wealthy Branson and Bezos are. It was their responsibility to ride their rockets.
When your company builds rockets, you, as the head of the company, need to put some skin in the game. How could you ask anyone else to ride if you’re not willing?
I’m not envious of their wealth, anyway. Other things bother me more.
I’m not a fan when Elon Musk’s SpaceX takes government payloads into space or seeks FAA permission to launch rockets or built a tower. When government hallucinates the authority to “allow” or “forbid” business, and backs it with threats of force, you do what you have to do. I still don’t like it.
Don’t suggest they pay more taxes, either. Only the economically ignorant want government to tax corporations more — or at all. All corporate taxes are, and must be, paid by the customers, like every business expense. I can’t afford to support government by paying more than necessary for things I want and need.
In space flight, as with anything else, the early users are going to be those who can afford the immense price. I’m not envious. Other people buy more expensive cars, bigger and better houses, and take nicer, longer vacations than I can afford. For me to envy anyone who can afford things I can’t would be pointless.
In this case, they are also taking the greatest risks. By the time the cost of space travel has dropped to the point where people like me can afford a ride, most bugs should be worked out. I’m glad others are going first.
Building rockets to take people into space is essential for the future of our species, even if you don’t want to go. NASA had its chance. Now others have stepped up to do what government failed to do.
The envious can’t see that money spent on space travel is helping everyone on Earth. This money is better spent than most charitable donations, if you’re looking at long-term benefits. Humanity needs a frontier more than most people realize. Let them give you one.