And a new analysis has suggested it is Californian entrepreneur Mr Musk who is likely to emerge the winner. Mr Musk has had his sights set on space for many years, and the successful launch of his Falcon Heavy rocket last week marks a major leap forward for his stated hopes of landing men on Mars by the year 2024. However, British Virgin boss Mr Branson has lofty ambitions of his own, with his SpaceShipTwo space tourism rocket plane, VSS Unite, reaching a space altitude for the first time.
And Amazon boss Mr Bezos, the first of the three to be involved in the space race, having founded Blue Origin in 2000, is believed to have invested more than $500million of his own money in the project since then.
RS Components, which supplies electronic components, electrical, automation and control, and test and measurement equipment to customers throughout the world, analysed the three side by side, producing an accompanying graphic to illustrate their findings.
Alexandra Berger, the company’s senior vice president with responsibility for marketing and communications in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Express.co.uk: “It’s clear to see that Musk has a drive and passion for space travel that exceeds both Branson and Bezos, making him the ideal market leader of space travel for the rest of the century.
“What we will see over the next few years and decades is whether Musk can deliver on these astronomical ambitions that are set to transform the world as we know it.
“The space race is historically known for being a competition between nations regarding achievements in the field of space exploration, famously starting between the US and Soviet Union in the mid to late 20th century.
“Since then, space discovery has become a hobby for some of the richest people on the planet.
“In particular, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk, all of whom want to commercialise outer-space, transport goods and transport members of the public outside of Earth by the end of 2019.”
Mr Bezos’ spacecraft, New Shepard, travelled four times faster than the speed of sound was was set to launch this year, with capacity for six passengers, Ms Berger said.
Meanwhile, VSS Unite is also expected to take members of the public into space this year, with tickets likely to retail at between $200,000 and $300,000.
However, she added: “Elon Musk has stood out as the most ambitious of the three billionaires with his space aspirations going beyond Branson and Bezos’ plans to get people travelling into space. Musk’s ultimate goal is to colonise Mars, which is a key reason the entrepreneur decided to begin SpaceX in 2002.
“Musk holds the largest space company of all three billionaires, with over 6,000 employees based in 10 locations, showing his intent to get people into outer-space and transform our world forever.
“Working with Nasa on a $2.6 billion project, Musk’s Crew Dragon 2 spacecraft is set to take travellers and cargo this year to the international space centre.
“These steps mark just the beginning of Musk’s journey to getting people to Mars.
“Musk’s predictions to not only transport people to Mars in the 21st century, but also to colonise the planet in a similar way to Earth, is by far the most exciting development set to take place in our lifetime.
“His hopes to blast people on the first human voyage to Mars as close as 2024, with the first boots set to land on the planet in 2025, suggests that these changes may be closer than we thought.”
Falcon Heavy, which is 23-stories tall, equal to roughly 250 feet, and which previously launched Musk’s cherry red Tesla roadster to space in a 2018 debut test flight, blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center carrying its first customer payload last week.
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