For space billionaires, their companies are their gift

Illustration of an origami airplane/rocket made from paper money.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are casting the fortunes they've spent on building new rockets to help humankind escape our home planet as a far greater legacy than funding more terrestrial good deeds.

The big picture: They're reframing for-profit businesses — SpaceX and Blue Origin — in philanthropic terms.

Relativity Space raises millions for plan to 3D print rockets

A man stands in front of a metal space device around twice his size.
Relativity's 3D printer. Photo: Relativity Space

Relativity Space, a venture-backed rocket company, just raised $140 million to fund its plan to 3D print its rockets.

Why it matters: The company is working to break into an increasingly crowded launch industry by sending relatively small satellites to orbit. This funding round puts Relativity on track to launch its first rocket — called Terran 1 — by 2021.