NASA astronaut Tom Henricks on the billionaire space race as Branson and Bezos compete to be first

  • ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy hears from astronaut Tom Henricks about his thoughts on the super rich space race

Apparently, it’s just coincidence that days after Jeff Bezos announced his trip to space, Sir Richard Branson suddenly got his ticket to fly.

Any of us cynics who think this is the battle of the rich boys are wrong, we’re told.

So what do those who were involved in the real superpower space race make of the super-rich race?

  • ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy on the space race - as Sir Richard Branson blasts off to space first

Surprisingly, one at least thinks this is the best way for the world to learn about what is beyond.

Tom Henricks is one of the few people on earth who have actually left it, and come back, at the helm of NASA space ships.

Pilot Terence 'Tom' Henricks (far right) on the way to Launch Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Credit: AP

He’s a proper astronaut no less.

He believes the likes of Branson, Bezos and Musk - along with their billions - will speed up the knowledge of space and the benefits it can offer those of us who have neither the wallet nor the wish to go galactic. 

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, poses for a photo outside the New York Stock Exchange before his company's IPO. Credit: AP

As one who has gone before he believes the more interest in space grows the better for everyone.

As for whether these are valid or vanity trips, well it seems one can go along with the other, 50 miles above the rest of us.