Jeff Bezos: Ahead on Billionaire’s Space Race?
On Tuesday (7/20), 9 AM Eastern Time, Blue Origin launched its first crewed mission on a New Shepard rocket from the Blue Origin One Launch Site in West Texas, USA. Blue Origin was created in 2000 by Jeff Bezos who owns 100% of the business after selling shares of his Amazon stock. Blue Origin flew its owner Jeff Bezos, who was joined by his brother Mark Bezos, 82 year old veteran pilot Wally Funk, and Oliver Daemen, the son of Somerset Capital Partners CEO. “What Blue Origin is about to accomplish is a small step up from this. What we're attempting to develop is a reusable spaceship," Bezos explained on Wednesday (7/21). Blue Origin has confirmed at least two launches for this year, including one which will take place in early September. The New Shepard successfully rocketed into Earth's upper atmosphere, reaching a height of 351,210 feet (66.5 miles). 9 days before, Virgin Galactic founder and billionaire Richard Branson had made his journey to space on (7/11) and became the first space billionaire. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, unlike New Shepard, which can fly six people without a pilot, still requires two pilots. SpaceX also launched and successfully landed its futuristic Starship on Wednesday (5/6), finally nailing a test flight of the rocketship that Elon Musk intends to use to land astronauts on the moon and send people to Mars. As The New Shepard became the first aerospace company to complete an unpiloted suborbital flight with an all-civilian crew, this makes Blue Origin a more reliable spacecraft in regards of space tourism. The slower pace also appears to mirror Blue Origin's history in the traditional aerospace sector, as opposed to the more eclectic group assembled at SpaceX by the famously hard-driving Musk.
Relating to the stock market, currently Blue Origin is not listed in any indices and Amazon's only connection to it is through Jeff Bezos, which already stepped down as a CEO on Monday (7/5) and sold his 739,000 Amazon’s stocks worth of US$2.5 Billion on Friday (5/7). On the other hand, Blue Origin's trip may have weighed on Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) stocks. The stocks reportedly fell as much as 8% on Tuesday (7/20) morning, but then recovered to the closing market of Tuesday (7/20) decreased by 0.74%. Despite this drop, the stock price of Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) is still up about 35% year to date. Moreover, with companies like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic ushering in a new era of space tourism, there's a lot to think about in today's stock market. Investors must consider the entire value chain, which includes everything from the rocket itself to all of the monitoring technology, such as communication sectors, that goes into the launch. According to Yahoo Finance, stocks from communication sector that can snowball from this event are SuperCom (NASDAQ:SPCB), Datasea Inc. (NASDAQ:DTSS), and Globalstar Inc. (NYSE:GSAT). Despite the fact that they are not participating in the Blue Origin space launch, respective companies could have an ample growth in the future since they provide smart security and communication infrastructure, which are important for aerospace launches. On Tuesday (7/20), S&P and Dow futures are pointing to a stronger open. The Blue Origin launch could be one of the bullish catalysts to monitor in the stock market today.
The growing interest in space tourism can be seen by how Blue Origin has sold roughly US$100 million worth of tickets for future space passenger flights. "The demand is very, very high," Bezos said at Blue Origin's presentation following its first crewed flight. Although, the company has not disclosed prices for seats on its New Shepard rocket. Indication has been made for its pricing structure, following the cost of US$28 million from public auctions the company held for a ticket on its rocket debut flight with Bezos. That's multiple times than Blue Origin's suborbital space tourism competitor Virgin Galactic has charged for seats on its upcoming journey, which vary from US$200,000 to US$500,000. While Jeff Bezos, Sir Richard Branson, and Elon Musk, who leads SpaceX, are competing and pioneering a private space economy that one day aims to offer commercial services to the masses, We able to see how Bezos is taking the lead in this space tourism journey. Analysts at investment bank UBS said to CNBC International on Tuesday (7/20), space tourism could become a reality for ordinary folk "In the not too distant future. While space tourism is still nascent, we think it will become mainstream as the technology becomes proven and cost falls." In general, The space tourism industry is a small part of a US$420 billion economy. Yet, because of its high visibility and the considerably more fascinating human element, it has a significant and widespread influence on the space economy. Investors frequently cite astronaut trips as a source of the excitement of the extraterrestrial marketplace's broader implications.
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