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Richard Branson is scheduled to blast off this Sunday on a suborbital space flight with his company Virgin Galactic, just days before Jeff Bezos plans to ride aboard a Blue Origin spaceship. But a lot more is riding on these rockets than ambitious billionaires.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Axios Space editor Miriam Kramer about what Branson and Bezos are actually doing, how it’s different from what SpaceX is doing, and the risks these missions could pose to the future of space travel.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 5, 2021 - Science

Blue Origin employees accuse company of mishandling harassment allegations

A Blue Origin booster coming in for a landing in 2019. Photo: Blue Origin

A letter signed by 21 current and former employees of Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin accuses the company of mishandling harassment allegations and raises questions about its culture.

The big picture: Blue Origin is trying to compete with SpaceX and others for lucrative government contracts but it's facing employee attrition rates as high as 20%, according to a report from CNBC.

Oct 5, 2021 - Podcasts
How It Happened

The Next Astronauts Part V: The Launch

In part five of How it Happened: The Next Astronauts, Axios space reporter Miriam Kramer follows the Inspiration4 crew to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to cover their launch and catches up with each of them after their return.

  • Kramer takes listeners to the press center at the Kennedy Space Center and inside of a pre-launch press conference with the four civilian astronauts the day before launch.
  • Kramer reports on the launch from on the ground and analyzes the livestream hosted by SpaceX, including the abrupt termination of real-time access to the crew once they reached orbit.
  • She tracks the crew during their three days in orbit, their high-risk descent back through the Earth's atmosphere, and what the safety and success of the mission means for the entire industry going forward.

Subscribe to How It Happened wherever you listen to podcasts.

  • For more of Miriam Kramer's space reporting, subscribe to Axios Space.

Credits: The Next Astronauts is reported and produced by Miriam Kramer, Amy Pedulla, Naomi Shavin, and Alice Wilder. Dan Bobkoff is Executive Producer. Mixing, sound design, and music supervision by Alex Sugiura. Theme music and original score by Michael Hanf. Fact-checking and research by Jacob Knutson. Alison Snyder is a managing editor at Axios and Sara Kehaulani Goo is executive editor. Special thanks to Axios co-founders Mike Allen, Jim VandeHei and Roy Schwartz.

Sep 14, 2021 - Podcasts
How It Happened

The Next Astronauts Part IV: Risk

In part four of How it Happened: The Next Astronauts, Axios space reporter Miriam Kramer learns how the Inspiration4 crew is grappling with risk, something every company in the space industry and all astronauts must confront.

  • Kramer speaks with the crew, the parent of a crew member, and a former NASA safety expert about how memories of the Challenger explosion have shaped the way the space industry prepares astronauts for risk.