Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

The billionaire space race: Will Jeff Bezos, Sir Richard Branson or Elon Musk be first to reach their goal?

Fifty years after the US celebrated the historic first Moon landing, three very rich men are on a mission to break new frontiers in the skies above.

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson are the trio full of out-of-this-world ideas and seemingly working without a budget.

Their 21st Century commercial projects have become popularly known as the Billionaire Space Race, a nod back to the technological battle between the US and USSR in the 20th Century.

But what are their ambitions, who's getting closest and - truth be told - is it even a race?

What are the billionaires trying to achieve?

Elon Musk famously sent one of his Tesla cars into space last year but ultimately has his eyes on the red planet. Credit: AP Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was the first to enter the private space exploration scene back in 2000 with his company Blue Origin.

His idea of 'launch, land, repeat' set the tone for his competitors.

Former PayPal CEO Elon Musk soon followed, setting up SpaceX only two years later.

Musk hasn't been quiet about his ambitions, declaring that he wants to colonise Mars by 2022.

While British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has championed the idea of commercial flights for space travel.

Is it even a race?

Jeff Bezos with his 'Blue Moon' prototype earlier this year. Credit: AP Images

However, not everyone thinks their efforts are comparable to the historic lunar landing.

Space journalist Sarah Cruddas believes the men are all running a very different race.

She said: "Apollo was about one thing, it was about the Moon and it was about two superpowers trying to say that they could do a big thing well and space was the next big thing."

The booming industry - which she describes as having a 'Mayflower moment' - is predicted to grow to a trillion dollars by 2040.

"What all three men are doing are completely different," she added.

How far away are they from their goals?

Richard Branson has sent crew into space and looks to start commercial travel soon. Credit: AP Images

This year alone, Musk has launched five rockets and won a $50.3 million contract with NASA use one of his SpaceX rockets.

E-commerce expert Jeff Bezos saw his unmanned spacecraft 'New Shepard' successfully take to the skies back in 2015.

And he is slowly making plans to create a base on the moon with his appropriately named lander 'Blue Moon'.

But any wannabe astronaut is sure to be interested in Richard Branson's work with Virgin Galactic.

His Spaceship 2 has already journeyed with a crew on 15 minute trips and the business magnate plans to start flights later this year.

So how much would a commercial ticket to space cost? Natalia Jorquera explains in the video at the top of this article.