Read the full story at Ivey Business Journal.
Capitalism has always been good at seizing opportunities and driving innovation. Not too long ago, space travel was pretty much limited to professional astronauts, leaving the rest of us to just imagine boldly going where no one has gone before, as Star Trek fans like to say. But thanks to the billionaire space race, William Shatner, the 90-year-old actor who played Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, just returned from a trip to the Earth’s outer limits. That’s amazing, not to mention the start of an exciting new space tourism industry that has the backing of some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.
And yet, given our environmental challenges, more than a few critics point out that providing rocket joy rides to the ultra-privileged doesn’t sound like the most justifiable business model for this day and age. According to a report in The Guardian, officials at Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic—which aims to launch full commercial services for so-called private astronauts next year—pushed back against environmental concerns by noting the venture can “get six people into space for an environmental effect less than a single business class ticket to New York.” But is that an appropriate comparison? You can justify adding a relatively small amount of cargo to a boat that’s already dangerously overloaded, but you still increase the risk of losing everything.