But who is Bezos' mystery bidder #107
Not Branson then?
A pair of rich white men look set to duke it out at the edge of space after Virgin Galactic was given the green light by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly customers to space. illustration: Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson in a spaceship The tweak to the existing commercial space transportation licence [PDF], …
While I agree with the sentiment, you clearly have no idea what is involved or how long it takes to build and operate a human pharmaceutical grade manufacturing plant. If they'd started immediately after the first announcements from Wuhan, it'd still not be up and operating yet.
Lol - my bet is Elon- the other are just scratching the Karman line, were Elon, is producing systems, which will, in due course land craft on the moon and mars. Bezos, is all talk, but we can't see any practicable action, beyond that line, whereas at Boca Chica, we can see, in real time the construction, and building of Star City, and the associated rockets, and see, the testing, even if it fails...
I can imagine him going for a surreptitious launch a few seconds before Bezos/Branson. And actually going to orbit.
Of course he won't have FAA permission for it (that'd give the game away), but he's not shy of sticking 2 fingers up to the authorities. It might be on the schedule as another test flight I guess.
That's the sort of stunt that would land him and a lot of people involved in the "doing jailtime" sorts of hot water. I REALLY doubt he'd go for a launch without FAA approval. (And it's not just FAA, there's range safety, launch equipment operations, etc. Unless he's got some underground launch silos hidden somewhere, it'd be very hard to prep a Falcon 9 for launch without anybody noticing or having a say on whether they can light the blue touch paper.
You say that but Branson is now working with Rolls Royce and Reaction Engines on producing a engine for his Mach 3 supersonic jet.
It no guarantee but I could eventually this partnership being expanded to include the construction of a SSTO vehicle at some point, after Virgin Galactic has run it sub orbital service for a couple of years and is turning over a profit.
I also think it only a matter of time before Virgin Galactic is merge back with Virgin orbit.
Also someone other than me has got to be thinking Virgin Galactic and stratolaunch would be another good merger with such a aircraft capable of handling Virgin Orbit launches and possible multiple SpaceShipTwo-class suborbital rockets at once all with the same vehicle.
The real plan is that as there's a significant risk, just before launch Bezos and the crew will secretly be removed from the capsule and taken to a TV studio in the desert where the mission footage will be faked. But if it does then burn up on reentry that leaves a few problems that can't easily be explained away...
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