Amazon's billionaire founder Jeff Bezos said critics are right to complain about billionaires taking taking “joy rides" into space... just one day before his own trip into orbit. The former Amazon CEO gave an interview to CNN on Monday as part of a media blitz he and Blue Origin are undertaking to promote the company before blasting off to space later this week and amid broad public criticism over billionaire priorities.
CNN’s Rachel Crane asked Bezos and his crew a series of questions and noted that “there have been a chorus of critics saying that these flights to space are just joyrides for the wealthy and that you should be spending your time and your money and energy trying to solve problems here on Earth. So what do you say to those critics?”
Bezos answered by saying he agrees with the criticism, and that people need to also focus on earthly problems.
“Well, I say they’re largely right. We have to do both,” Bezos said. “We have lots of problems here and now on Earth and we need to work on those, and we always need to look to the future. We’ve always done that as a species, as a civilization. We have to do both.”
Bezos continued by asserting that Blue Origin’s mission is about practicing operational space travel so that one day it can become comparable to commercial airline travel.
In the remarks first reported by Mediaite, Jeff Bezos was defending himself from critics who argue that billionaire tycoons - like himself and Richard Branson - would be better off focusing on problems around the world, rather than embarking on missions for space travel. The Blue Origin launch comes after Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson made his own inroads into commercial space travel earlier this month when he and his crew went on a test flight to the edge of space.
“If we can do that,” he said, “then we’ll be building a road to space for the next generations to do amazing things there, and those amazing things will solve problems here on Earth…So, the real answer is, yes, we have to do both.”
Bezos’s Blue Origin New Shepard Mission is set to launch in Texas on Tuesday, on the same day of the famed moon landing by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.