Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…
“Sergey Brin”
The GLXP is Dead! Long Live the GLXP!

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

This past week, the XPrize acknowledged the obvious:  after 10 years and multiple deadline extensions, none of the five remaining teams was going to claim the Google Lunar X Prize by landing a privately-built vehicle on the moon that would travel 500 meters across the surface while sending back high-definition video.

The first team to accomplish that goal would have claimed $20 million; the second, $5 million. But, unlike the moon race of the 1960’s, Google’s much hyped moon shot ended not with the deafening roar of a launch but the deadening silence of a dream deferred.


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  • February 2, 2018
Number of Billionaires Investing in Space Projects Grows

Forbes has published its annual list of the planet’s billionaires. A small but growing number of them are either directly supporting major space projects or doing so through the companies that they run. FORBES RANK NAME AGE 2015 NET WORTH (BILLIONS) SOURCE(S) OF WEALTH SPACE INVESTMENT(S)  15 Jeff Bezos 51  $34.8 Blue Origin 16 Mark Zuckerberg 30  $33.4 Facebook Global satellite network 19 Larry Page 41 $29.7  Google SpaceX, […]

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  • March 3, 2015
After Sarah Brightman, Will Sergey Brin Fly to the International Space Station?

Google co-founder Sergey Brin could be the next space tourist to journey to the International Space Station. Space Adventures President Tom Shelley told Reuters that Brin, whose net worth is $30.2 billion, has put down a deposit on a seat aboard a future Soyuz flight to the orbiting laboratory. “He paid us a deposit and whenever we have a seat available, he has the right of first refusal,” Shelley said. […]

  • Parabolic Arc
  • June 11, 2014
Is a Google-Virgin Galactic Deal in the Works?

While Elon Musk’s lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force has dominated the headlines, another development with the potential to restructure the space industry has flown completely under the radar: a deepening relationship between Virgin Galactic and Google.

Overt the past month, Virgin Galactic conducted a series of Google Hangouts about its space tourism program in conjunction with the Google Science Fair. One hangout featured VG Vice President William Pomerantz and Richard Branson’s son, Sam; a second had three engineers live from The Spaceship Company’s FAITH hangar in Mojave, Calif; and a third featured two ticket holders who will be aboard future SpaceShipTwo suborbital tourism flights.


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  • May 11, 2014
Not Many Billionaires Focused on Commercial Space

Richard Branson and then-Gov. Bill Richardson. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

Forbes has released its annual list of the world’s billionaires. There are a record 1,426 individuals with an aggregate net worth of $5.4 trillion in the world. The table below shows the tiny handful of this group — nine individuals — who are currently or have been previously involved in space projects.

Rank Name Net Worth (Billions) Age Nationality Company/
Space Project(s)


Jeff Bezos $25.2 49 American CEO, Founder Blue Origin


Larry Page $23.0 39 American Google CEO, Co-founder Google Lunar X Prize, Planetary Resources
21 Sergey Brin $22.8 39 American Google Co-founder Google Lunar X Prize
53 Paul Allen $15.0 60 American Microsoft Co-founder Stratolaunch, SpaceShipOne
SETI array
138 Eric Schmidt $8.2 57 American Google Chairman Google Lunar X Prize, Planetary Resources
272 Richard Branson $4.6 62 British Virgin Group CEO, Founder Virgin Galactic
527 Elon Musk $2.7 41 American PayPal, Tesla Motors, Solar City SpaceX
831 Guy Laliberte $1.8 53 Canadian Cirque du Soleil Space tourist
1031 H. Ross Perot, Jr. $1.4 54 American computer services, real estate Planetary Resources


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  • March 5, 2013
SpaceX’s Elon Musk Makes Debut on Forbes Billionaire’s List

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

Elon Musk has made his first appearance on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires. The 40-year-old entrepreneur has landed at 634 on the list with an estimated net worth of $2 billion.

Musk has developed the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon vehicle to send cargo and crew to the International Space Station. His company, SpaceX, has received money under NASA’s COTS  (for cargo) and CCDev (crew) programs. He is also reported to have invested up to $100 million of his own funds into SpaceX.

In addition to his involvement with SpaceX, Musk is a trustee of the X PRIZE Foundation, whose space competitions include the Ansari X Prize, the Google Lunar X Prize and the Northrup Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.

The South African-born entrepreneur also runs two other companies, the electric car producer Tesla Motors and SolarCity, which provides solar energy systems.


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  • March 13, 2012
Brin, Bezos Top Forbes’ List of New Space Billionaire Backers

Richard Branson

Forbes has put out its list of the world’s 1,210 billionaires, a half dozen of whom have ties to the New Space community.

Rank Name Age Net Worth
Company Space Involvement
24 Sergey Brin 37 $19.8 Google Google Lunar X Prize, Prospective billionaut
24 Larry Page 37 $19.8 Google Google Lunar X Prize
30 Jeff Bezos 47 $18.1 Amazon Blue Origin
57 Paul Allen 58 $13.0 Microsoft SpaceShipOne, SETI telescope array
254 Richard Branson 60 $4.2 Virgin Group Virgin Galactic
459 Guy Laliberte 51 $2.5 Cirque du Soleil Billionaut visitor to ISS

All six billionaires are males from North America and Britain with a combined net worth of $77.4 billion. The most prominent of them — Richard Branson — has the second lowest net worth of the group. His company, Virgin Galactic, is undertaking the most expensive New Space project to date at a cost of more than $400 million.


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  • March 10, 2011
The Billionauts are Back!

The Soyuz -- soon to fly again with billionauts aboard!

Pop the corks! Light up those Cubans with $100 bills! And order that Beluga caviar by the ton!

Yes, prospective billionauts around the world are celebrating today. They will soon have rides into orbit, thanks to a new deal between the Russians and an American space tourism company:

Space Adventures, the only company that has provided human space mission opportunities to the world marketplace, announced today the conclusion of an agreement with the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (FSA) and Rocket Space Corporation Energia (RSC Energia) to commercially offer three seats on the Soyuz spacecraft bound for the International Space Station (ISS), beginning in 2013.

These seats will be made available through the increase of Soyuz production, from four to five spacecraft per year. Each flight will be short duration, approximately 10 days, and will contribute to the increase of launch capacity to the ISS.


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  • January 12, 2011
Flying to the Moon: Cheaper Than Running for Governor of California

The San Jose Mercury News looks at space tourism today. Some interesting excerpts:

Space Adventures has already sent eight paying passengers into space using Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and Google co-founder Sergey Brin has placed a $5 million down payment and is first in line for a future flight into orbit. Now, the company is advertising a trip around the moon for two paying passengers, something the company’s president, Tom Shelley, says could happen in three to four years. At $100 million a seat, a trip to the moon is a bit steep, but it’s less than one Silicon Valley tycoon spent trying to get to Sacramento.

[Editor’s Note: This last bit is a reference to former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who spent in excess of $160 million — most of it her own money — in a failed bid to become California’s governor. Don’t feel too bad for her, though; it was just a bit over 10 percent of her net worth.]


  • Parabolic Arc
  • November 27, 2010