Industrialization and business has now reached the final frontier – space. 

The era of private spaceflight is here. Billionaires like Branson, Bezos, and Musk have proven the power of entrepreneurship. Where the government spends unfathomable amounts of money for projects which regular people like us can only imagine, these entrepreneurs are working to literally introduce us to that unknown. 

So far, July has been the most successful month for investors of the space tourism industry. Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson along with his 5 other crew members took off to space in their first maiden spaceflight in the third week of July. The fourth week again witnessed Jeff Bezos rocketing into space in his own gumdrop-shaped capsule. Last year, Elon Musk-led SpaceX helped NASA bring 2 astronauts home from the ISS (International Space Station) with the help of its Falcon 9 rocket. 

All of these instances are proof of how realistic space travel is about to become. 

One can argue about the expenses, and costs associated, but that’s not important right now. 

What’s more important now is that space flight is possible, and they can go mainstream soon. Let’s discuss the top 5 companies who are in the space race and perfectly capable of making anybody an astronaut.

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Top 5 companies that can fly you to space

#1. SpaceX

Trade Name: SpaceX
Founder: Elon Musk
Headquarters: Hawthorne, California, US
Spaceship Name: Falcon 9, Dragon Spacecraft
First Manned Mission: Aug 2, 2020

When NASA announced it will be allowing a Commercial Crew Program and let private companies take part, both Boeing and SpaceX ended up placing bids. SpaceX ended up being the first commercial partner for the project. If all goes well, SpaceX will soon be flying astronauts to the ISS full time, as well as other passengers who are willing to pay for the trip. 

#2. Virgin Galactic

Trade Name: SPCE.N
Founder: Richard Branson
Headquarters: Mojave, California, US
Spaceship Name: VSS Unity
First Manned Mission: July 11, 2021

On 11 July 2021, Richard Branson and his company Virgin Galactic became the first company in history to launch a civilian into space. The suborbital flight comprised 3 employees, 2 pilots, and Branson himself. A one-hour spaceflight, VG’s accomplishment is proof of making space travel possible for the average person.

#3. Blue Origin

Trade Name: (still an LLC)
Founder: Jeff Bezos
Headquarters: Kent, Washington, US
Spaceship Name: New Shepard Rocket
First Manned Mission: July 20, 2021

Like Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos also has grand visions of seeing humans beyond Earth. This dream took its first step on July 20 when Jeff Bezos, along with 3 other members, flew into space. 

Blue Origin could also be the first company that literally got paid to take a passenger into the space in its first flight. Apparently, Oliver Daeman, one member of the 4-member crew, is an 18-year-old student who chanced upon the opportunity after the original member, the winner of a ticket auction, backed out. Oliver’s father paid $28 million to sponsor his son’s ticket to outer space. 

#4. Boeing

Trade Name: BA
Founder: The Boeing Company
Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois, US
Spaceship Name: Boeing Starliner
First Manned Mission: Still under development

Boeing was one of the foremost private players who received a prepaid project from NASA for its CST-100 Starliner spaceship manufacturing and manned mission. The company performed their first orbital flight test on 20 December, 2019, at Cape Canaveral, Florida. After 2 days from the launch, the capsule landed at White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico, to become the first crew-capable space capsule to make a manually controlled, land-based touchdown. 

#5. Sierra Nevada Corporation

Trade Name: (not traded)
Founder: Fatih Ozmen, Eren Ozmen
Headquarters: Sparks, Nevada, US
Spaceship Name: Dream Chaser
First Manned Mission: Still under development

SNC has been one of the most consistent partners of NASA for its many missions, mainly around cargo transportation. It was also awarded the project for crew transportation, but on September 16, 2014, the company lost the contract to SpaceX and Boeing. 

While the company may not be actively involved right now, its resources and history makes it perfectly capable of accomplishing such goals. 

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