Key moments in the race: Blue Origin vs. Virgin Galactic

Editor’s note: This feature from our July/August issue has been updated to reflect developments related to Virgin Galactic.

No matter which billionaire flies first (here in early July it looks like Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic could scoop Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin), a successful ride to the fringes of space and back would conclude a decade-long competition between the companies to be first to fly with passengers. The brief journey could be as impactful as Alan Shepard’s 15-minute flight 60 years ago, this time by sparking regular tourist flights and beginning to test the hypothesis that suborbital flights by the wealthy will eventually open the space frontier to others.

Here are timelines showing key developments through July 2 in the battle of the billionaires, Bezos and Branson.


About Cat Hofacker

Cat helps guide our coverage, keeps production of the magazine on schedule and copy edits all articles. She became associate editor in 2021 after two years as our staff reporter. Cat joined us in 2019 after covering the 2018 congressional midterm elections as an intern for USA Today.

Key moments in the race: Blue Origin vs. Virgin Galactic