There’s a billionaire space race going on, and not everyone is excited about the outcome. The net worth of billionaires Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos amass to about $400 billion — roughly the GDP of Ireland. In the past, only countries were wealthy enough to launch into space. But now three men create their own personal billionaire space race to achieve each of their individual goals.
Who’s winning the billionaire space race?
Some say it’s Elon Musk. He has built satellites and rockets with his venture SpaceX, although he hadn’t been to space himself yet. He’s commented that he’d “like to die on Mars, just not on impact.” He criticizes his rivals who want to profit from their ventures where SpaceX’s stated goal is “making life multi-planetary.”
Some say it’s Jeff Bezos. He founded Blue Origin six years after Amazon with the intention to create space colonies. He launched the rocket, New Shepard, on July 20, 2021. After that, New Shepard is becoming a vehicle for space tourism for wealthy thrill-seekers.
Some say it doesn’t matter. For instance, people on Twitter view this billionaire space race as an ego-stroking endeavor. A very expensive one at that.
20 Honest Reactions to the Billionaire Space Race
Is it possible for billionaires to end world hunger?
Is it really as simple as giving the billionaire space race money to charity? According to Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, one would need about $25 billion to end hunger in the United States. Keep in mind, hunger in the U.S. isn’t directly caused by crop failures, war, or massive inflation, as it is in other parts of the world. In America, people who are hungry simply don’t have enough money to purchase food. Berg recommends “a combination of increased wages and improved safety net programs” to fix this.
Space VS Hunger
For further context, Richard Branson’s trip to space cost $841 million.  However, there are not many resources telling the exact pricing on the other feats in the billionaire’s space race, but we could derive something from the prices involved. According to Elon Musk, a “fully expendable” trip in commercial rocket Falcon Heavy would cost about $150 million per launch. Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin has already gained over $100 million in private sales for seats on the next endeavor. 
However, in order to end world hunger, experts estimate that about $7 billion to $265 billion will be needed per year. So even if these billionaires would give their space race money directly to poverty-stricken people, it won’t be a long-term solution, unless it’s given to proper organizations. Still, that could feed over 2 billion people who don’t have regular access to safe and sufficient food for at least a limited amount of time. And it may save some of the over 820 million people who die in the world from chronic hunger. 
- “Which billionaire is winning the space race? It depends.” CNN. Jackie Wattles. July 20, 2021
- “Richard Branson hits back at critics of the billionaire space race, saying he’s giving jobs to scientists to create ‘wonderful things’.” Business Insider. Aleeya Mayo. July 14, 2021
- “Elon Musk says the new SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket crushes its competition on cost.” CNBC. Michael Sheetz. February 12, 2018
- “What a Ticket on Jeff Bezos’ Rocket Will Cost You.” Slate. Aaron Mak. July 20, 2021
- “How Much Would It Cost To End World Hunger?” Global Giving. March 1, 2021