On the 30th of May, SpaceX, Elon Musk’s aerospace company, made history. Its Falcon 9 rocket sent two NASA astronauts – Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley – into space from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. It was a historic moment, for more reasons than one. It was the first time that NASA sent its astronauts in a private rocket, and for SpaceX it was the first such mission. But the flight did more than create history – it marked the beginning of new era in the privatization of space. In the decades to come we will see many more players enter this space (pun intended), now commonly known as the billionaires’ playground.
While SpaceX, with its text-book startup-success story, may have beaten the others right now, the truth is that it has competition. Some big names are set to enter the industry – and these are your regular struggling start-ups vying for the next big thing. These are your Bezos and Bransons of the world, who, much like Musk want a piece of the commercial space pie. Not to forget Boeing, an aerospace giant that (for one), built the first stage of NASA’s rocket, Saturn V that launched the Apollo moon missions. So yes, the race is hotting up and it’s safe to say that the age of human spaceflight is upon us. If Elon Musk has his way (and he mostly does), we’ll be riding to Mars soon.
Who all are in the race? And how big are they?