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The World’s Top 10 Space Entrepreneurs – Sir Richard Branson beats Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to the Number 1 spot

Entrepreneurial and technology news platform TechRound polled readers for the World’s Top 10 Space Entrepreneurs

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, December 6, 2021 / — It has been coined the Billionaire Space Race because of the huge amounts of wealth needed to develop and send futuristic rockets and satellites into the galaxy or transporting tourists up amongst the stars. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson make the headlines, yet other entrepreneurs have entered the race. TechRound’s readers polled The World’s Top 10 Space Entrepreneurs:

10. Dan Ceperley, CEO of Leo Labs

Dan Ceperley is a champion of new space ventures, innovative space technologies, and sustainable development of the space economy. As the CEO and cofounder of LeoLabs, he created LeoLabs to drive advances in space traffic safety, space situational awareness (SSA), and preservation of the space environment through actionable, real-time information.

9. Robert Bigelow, Founder of Bigelow Aerospace

In 1999 millionaire Robert Bigelow founded Bigelow Aerospace and planned to spend up to US$500 million to develop the first commercial space station with a goal of the station costing 33% of the US$1.5 billion that NASA expended on a single space shuttle mission.

In March 2020, Bigelow Aerospace let go of all 88 members of staff and halted operations after over 20 years of business, in a move that was partly caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

He now mainly funds research in to UFOs

8. Peter Beck, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rocket Lab.

After founding the company in 2006, Beck it into a global organization that develops and launches advanced rockets, satellites and spacecraft. Under Beck’s leadership, Rocket Lab pioneered advanced aerospace manufacturing techniques for Electron, including 3D printed rocket engines, electric-pump-fed rocket engines and fully carbon composite fuel tanks.

7. Nobu Okada, Founder & CEO of Astroscale

Nobu Okada founded Astroscale in 2013 due to a strong desire to address the growing threat of space debris. He used his personal funds as seed money and hired a team in Singapore in 2013 and opened an R&D office in Japan in 2015, a UK office in 2017, a U.S. office in 2019, and an Israeli office in 2020, whilst raising US $300M capital. The team calls themselves, “Space Sweepers” and their mission is to reduce orbital debris and support long-term, sustainable use of space.

6. Tim Ellis, co-founder and CEO of Relativity Space

Ellis is an American aerospace engineer who in 2015, co-founded Relativity Space with his former classmate, Jordan Noone with the mission of being the first company to launch a fully 3D printed rocket into orbit. Relativity Space’s fully 3D-printed and fully reusable Terran R rocket can be built in only 60 days, according to a report by New Atlas.

Relativity Space announced its US$650 million Series E funding at US$4.2 billion valuation in June 2021.

5. Dr Susmita Mohanty, Space Entrepreneur

Dr Mohanty is a spaceship designer and is the only entrepreneur in the world who has founded space companies on 3 different continents. She is the co-founder and CEO of EARTH2ORBIT, India’s first private space start-up that played a pivotal role in opening up the US launch market for India. Before turning entrepreneur, Dr Mohanty worked for the International Space Station programme at Boeing in California and on Shuttle-Mir missions at NASA Johnson in Houston.

4. Chris Newlands, CEO of Spelfie and Space 2 Consumer Group

Newlands is known as one of the UK’s most connected entrepreneurs in the UK technology sector. He is the CEO of Spelfie – the space selfie, which was launched in November 2019 as an app to capture real-time satellite images of events and their attendees. The first Spelfie was unveiled on the BBC in November 2019, showcasing a message on a beach in Bali from a campaigning group to rid the island of single use plastic bottles. The app then reached the top 10% of all app downloads in history.

Having received its game changing US Patent in March 2021, Spelfie is focussing on offering unique Space to Consumer (S2C) Engagement Strategies to their current and future partners, which is set to underpin an entirely new technology sector as thousands of satellites are set to be launched into space in the next few years. Many of these will be utilised through the US patent.

3. Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin

Established by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2000, Blue Origin aims to provide access to space to private individuals.

Blue Origin has a focus on space tourism services, rather than military or science applications. Bezos, who has a net worth of more than $200bn, believes that providing entertainment through space travel is the best way to further technology. Therefore, the goals of Blue Origin include lowering the cost of space travel and improving safety.

2. Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX

Musk is the world’s richest man with a wealth of $297bn and is the CEO of Tesla and the founder and CEO of SpaceX – arguably the most well-known private space company.

SpaceX was the first commercial company to deliver cargo to the ISS. They have also secured a contract with NASA to carry humans to the ISS. The company has already had great success with their Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. The Falcon 9 first successfully re-entered the atmosphere and landed vertically in 2015 and SpaceX is now working on a new rocket capable of launching manned missions to Mars.

1. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic

Branson’s Virgin Galactic, founded in 2004, is an extension of the Virgin brand into the space tourism industry. The goal of this venture is to fly private citizens into space and dominate the commercial space travel market.

Earlier this year Branson successfully reached the edge of space on board his Virgin Galactic rocket plane flying high above New Mexico in the US in the vehicle that his company has been developing for 17 years.

The trip also made him the first of the new space tourism pioneers to try out their own vehicles, and in doing so, beating Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and SpaceX’s Elon Musk to that milestone.

Anthony Burr
Burr Media
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