Private Sub-Orbital Spaceflight, Hell Yeah!

Richard Branson wears his astronaut’s wings at a news conference after flying with a crew in Virgin Galactic’s passenger rocket plane VSS Unity to the edge of space at Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, N.M., July 11, 2021. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)
Thanks to Bezos, Branson, and Musk, complacent bureaucrats are losing their power to decide who gets to go to space and why.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE S o, first Richard Branson and now Jeff Bezos have made their quick joyrides into space (or its neighborhood: in Branson’s case, it depends on whom you ask) and, critically, back. The flights were a victory lap of sorts for science, human ingenuity, and immense entrepreneurial drive. Not everyone was pleased.

Predictably, some malcontents made an appearance in the Guardian, where in one article (“How the billionaire space race could be one giant leap for pollution”) concerns were raised about the effect of increased spaceflight on, in various ways, the atmosphere and, inevitably, the climate. Justified scientific caution? To an extent. As

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