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  • Chris Baker

Billionaires go into Space - But did they really?

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

In the last week we have watched Branson and Bezos go into space. It was spectacular that was for sure.! And it's only a matter of time before Musk is off!

But did they really go into space?

Don't worry - I'm not peddling some conspiracy theory. The question is: Where does space begin? And did they actually make it into space?

Courtesy of Virgin Galactic

These three billionaires are shifting the category of people-who-go-to-space, from the exclusive club of highly-trained mostly military people, to a slightly less exclusive club of them plus really, really rich folk.

Along the way to redefining what it means to be an astronaut, they’re also raising an interesting question: when, exactly, do you get to say you’ve been to space?

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic flight rocketed to about 85km. Did Richard get to space? Richard and NASA would say so, but much of the rest of the world begs to differ. Importantly, so do the other two billionaires, and there’s nothing more entertaining than watching super rich argue about who has bragging rights on getting to space first, right?

It is an interesting question though: where exactly does space begin?

Is there some boundary you can point to and unambiguously say: below this line, it’s atmosphere, but beyond it's the void? Or is it all a weird mix of convention and historical baggage, mixed with a smattering of atmospheric physics and aerodynamics?

No prizes for guessing the answer to those questions. In episode 82 of the Syzygy podcast, astronomer Emily delves into the matter in far more detail than was strictly necessary for her recent turn as friendly expert on Sky, as they covered the Virgin Galactic flight. Co-host Chris wonders what Bezos’s rocket reminds him of. And they both issue a challenge to billionaires: if you *really* want to prove you’ve been to *actual* space, Emily’s got a suggestion for you!

Listen to the latest podcast from the Syzygy crew on Billionaires in space! RIGHT HERE and find out what really happened.....................

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