Henry Keazor in conversation with Gesa Ufer

Step up: Jeff Bezos took off from the ground in Texas on Tuesday – and returned again. (picture alliance / dpa / AP / Tony Gutierrez)

Two American billionaires have taken to space. A space tourism industry could soon emerge. The danger of this only affecting the children of the super-rich has already become evident. But there are also alternative concepts.

Today, America’s second billionaire took to space with a space capsule: After Richard Branson won the super-rich in space race last week, Jeff Bezos launched his “Blue Origin” Tuesday. Like Branson, the Amazon boss wants to take tourists to space in the future.

Besides Bezos, his brother Mark, the 80-year-old American Wally Funk and the son of an 18-year-old Dutch entrepreneur were on board the “Blue Origin”. This space tourism, which begins today, is “worrying”, notes the art historian Henry Keazor. He is the author of the book “We are all Astronauts” on the figure of the astronaut in art and the media.

Lying on the chair

“I had already prophesied that in the worst case scenario it would turn into such getaways for millionaire kids,” Keazor explains, referring to 18-year-old Oliver Daemen. “There you go, it happens the first time.” On tapes of a pre-flight meeting, Daemen was bored in a chair, reports the art historian. It seemed like the young man didn’t even know what was being offered to him.

On the other hand, there are also alternative and ecological concepts for space travel. There are solutions in which the space capsules are fired at a balloon filled with hot air using solar energy, the jet engines are only ignited above the atmosphere, and the vehicle is catapulted into space, explains Keazor, outlining the considerations. “It would be nice if the space tourism industry developed in this direction.”

As on the company

At the same time, space tourism, which is not only possible for the super-rich, would also to some extent normalize the image of the astronaut and adapt it to that of the sci-fi movie, Keazor speculates. . “Then we’d feel a bit like on the Enterprise, where you sometimes forget it’s a spaceship because it feels so incredibly comfortable and secure.”