Any good economic advisor has to make disclaimers about his personal interests so that you can decide whether to trust him. So, I shall make my personal disclaimer upfront.
Jeff Bezos might be the richest man on Earth, but he looks like a dork. Personally, I think he is a dork. If you think that it’s wrong for me to get personal and insulting, I agree that’s it insulting for dorks to be compared to Bezos. To the dorks of the world, I apologise.
Main picture: Jeff Bozo in guru pose speaking to his devotees from his Madras at Van Horn, TX, before ejaculating on his spiritual journey in his priapic amusement park ride.
I watched both the Branson and Bezos flights and I must say that I was mightily underwhelmed. Although they tried to hype them, with Branson employing some out of work Virgin Atlantic stewardesses to breathlessly comment from the Space Flight Centre, they couldn’t inject any excitement into what essentially were just fancy amusement park rides albeit extremely expensive and polluting. What is worse is that they try to justify what they are doing as something beneficial to mankind.
Putting my personal pet peeve aside, what did they actually see? Did they see the little earth floating in the darkness of space and have some spiritual epiphany? Nope. They couldn’t have.
At 100+ km up (82+ km for Branson), all they would have seen if they looked straight down would have been <0.8% of the Earth’s surface area! They would have seen a disc of roughly 2200km diameter with a conical angle from the centre of the earth of 20 deg.
In the case of Blue Origin (Bezos’s pretentiously named ‘spaceship’) which was launched from Van Horn near the southern Texas border, all they would have seen below them would have been contained in the red circle as shown. Sure, they would have seen the curvature of the earth and they would have experienced weightlessness for all of 3 minutes of a 10-minute flight. Yee Haa! Way to go!
In fact, most astronauts don’t see much more, typically going only about 500 km up compared to an Earth diameter of about 12800 km. Only 27 Apollo astronauts have had the true out-of-earth experience and have seen the small lonely earth lost in the vastness of space.
Breaking News: There are three US organisations that award astronaut wings. The US Military and NASA only award them to their own employees. That leaves the FAA. Unfortunately for Bozo, almost immediately after the Blue Origin flight, FAA announced that the flight was completely controlled from the ground and hence the ‘crew’ were just cargo.