How Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are ushering in a new era of space startups

As Blue Origin and SpaceX democratize access to space, small companies will get to explore an array of promising new ideas that lie beyond planet Earth.

In early February, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and one of the planet’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, dropped the bombshell announcement that he would be stepping down as CEO to free up more time for his other passions. Though Bezos listed a few targets for his creativity and energy—The Washington Post and philanthropy through the Bezos Earth Fund and Bezos Day One Fund—one of the highest-potential areas is his renewed commitment and focus on his suborbital spaceflight project, Blue Origin.

Before space became a frontier for innovation and development for privately held companies, opportunities were limited to nation states and the private defense contractors who supported them. In recent years, however, billionaires such as Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson have lowered the barrier to entry. Since the launch of its first rocket, Falcon 1, in September of 2008, Musk’s commercial space transportation company SpaceX has gradually but significantly reduced the cost and complexity of innovation beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. With Bezos’s announcement, many in the space sector are excited by the prospect of those barriers being lowered even further, creating a new wave of innovation in its wake. Read More>>

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