Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson — three of the world's most high-profile businessmen — have all been seduced by the future of the space industry. Their respective companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic) are among the leaders in private space launches.
But is there any money in it?
Sort of! Mashable space reporter Miriam Kramer joins this week's episode of Biz Please to talk about the harsh realities and wild dreams of the space business.
For now, being in the space business means lots of upfront investment for relatively small payoffs. SpaceX recently signed a contract with the Air Force worth $82.7 million, an important step for the company into the military world.
There are reasons to be optimistic, however. The efforts of these companies have also begun to recapture some of the public's attention that has been sorely lacking since the end of the Space Shuttle missions in 2011. Rocket launches were once the crowd-pleasing events — now it's rocket landings.
There's also plans in place for the U.S. to make a return to manned spaceflight, with a 2017 NASA mission on the schedule. Right now, the U.S. sends up astronauts on Russian rockets.
As for your chance to visit the great black expanse of space, don't get too excited. Virgin Galactic is maybe the closest company to offering legitimate space tourism (we're not counting dropping tens of millions of dollars to train as a Russian cosmonaut), but the company is still recovering from the crash of one of its ships in October 2015.
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