Commercial space exploration, if the price is right and used in relation to Internet commerce, can become the norm in the near future, Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said.
Bezos compared the success of his venture into space exploration with how he started his online retail business. The retail magnate shared that he is seeing the trend with his investments in Blue Origin LLC, which dabbles in space exploration.
Amazon became successful because the necessary infrastructure needed to run the business, such as Internet access, credit card, and postal services, are already available. For space exploration to become truly successful, it should be affordable for millions of people.
Bezos said that reduced cost can be achieved through development of reusable rockets.
"What's important to me is lowering the cost of getting to space," Bezos said as he addressed the audience during the 32nd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "I want to see millions of people living and working in space."
It seems that the e-commerce pioneer upped his confidence in reusable rockets when Blue Origin was able to impressively launch and land New Shepard last week despite being used three times.
During the symposium, Bezos highlighted the accomplishments and plans of Blue Origin to more than just a space tourism firm.
The April 2 relaunch of the reusable rocket was the company's first suborbital attempt and a move that seeks to dare Musk's SpaceX, which seems to downplay Bezos' achievements in space exploration, fueling rivalry between the two companies.
Many billionaires are now expressing interest in investing in space exploration. Russian millionaire Yuri Milner, known to have numerous ventures in space exploration, announced in a New York event that he would provide financial support of $100 million to Breakthrough Starshot, which is planning to develop small, unmanned spaceships to explore the universe and look for intelligent life.
Both Bezos and Elon Musk's SpaceX are working on reducing the cost of space travel. SpaceX offers bigger rockets that can transport people, equipment, and supplies, while Blue Origin's smaller rockets can transport tourists at the space edge for a few minutes of space weightlessness. Bezos is planning to have passengers on board a New Shepard by 2018, but the ticket price is not yet available.
Bigelow Aerospace is also working on a B330 module that plans to offer space habitats on a timeshare basis.
So far, only millionaires like Charles Simonyi were able to afford space flights to the International Space Station aboard Russian Soyuz capsules.
If this would become a trend, it looks like Bezos' vision of people living and working in space could happen sooner than later.
Would you be one of the million people who would live and work in space, if the price is right?