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The space race between Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson isn't about saving Earth — it's a PR stunt by billionaires trying to pretend they care about the rest of us

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Without a hint of self-parody, we've reached a new epoch of human progress: the billionaire space race.

Last month on Instagram, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos released a slightly awkward, staged video where he invited his younger brother Mark to launch 62 miles into the air to just above what is known as the Kármán line, or the earth's border with space. The Bezos brothers along with another extremely wealthy person — who paid $28 million via auction for the opportunity — and pilot Wally Funk will take the first human flight on Blue Origin, the space exploration company created by Bezos. The flight is scheduled for July 20.

Not to be outdone, another billionaire, Virgin's Richard Branson, announced he will beat Bezos to the chase by flying to space on July 11. Branson maintains that he is not racing Bezos to space but that his engineers just happened to sign off on his trip after a successful test flight on May 22. Bezos and Branson both hope their space ventures will bring tourists on similar trips soon.

Elon Musk, who hopes to die on Mars, won't be the first or second billionaire to go to space in a rocket he helped fund, but he is winning the billionaire space race in a different way. Much to Bezos' chagrin, Musk's company SpaceX won a highly competitive bid from NASA to bring Americans to the moon as early as 2024. Bezos is contesting the loss of this multibillion dollar contract with an army of lobbyists to get Blue Origin a contract too. According to The Intercept, Blue Origin spent $625,000 on lobbying in the first three months of 2021,........

© Business Insider

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