The Space Barons
The historic quest to rekindle the human exploration and colonization of space led by two rivals and their vast fortunes, egos, and visions of space as the next entrepreneurial frontierThe Space Barons is the story of a group of billionaire entrepreneurs who are pouring their fortunes into the epic resurrection of the American space program. Nearly a half-century after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, these Space Barons-most notably Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, along with Richard Branson and Paul Allen-are using Silicon Valley-style innovation to dramatically lower the cost of space travel, and send humans even further than NASA has gone. These entrepreneurs have founded some of the biggest brands in the world-Amazon, Microsoft, Virgin, Tesla, PayPal-and upended industry after industry. Now they are pursuing the biggest disruption of all: space.Based on years of reporting and exclusive interviews with all four billionaires, this authoritative account is a dramatic tale of risk and high adventure, the birth of a new Space Age, fueled by some of the world's richest men as they struggle to end governments' monopoly on the cosmos. The Space Barons is also a story of rivalry-hard-charging startups warring with established contractors, and the personal clashes of the leaders of this new space movement, particularly Musk and Bezos, as they aim for the moon and Mars and beyond.

The Space Barons Details

TitleThe Space Barons
Author
ReleaseMar 20th, 2018
PublisherPublicAffairs
ISBN-139781610398299
Rating
GenreSpace, Nonfiction, Science, Technology, Engineering, Biography, History

The Space Barons Review

  • Dee Arr
    January 1, 1970
    The full title of this book, The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos, emphasizes the battle between two of the main figures in the book. While I understand the name-dropping can potentially help in selling more copies, I feel it is important to mention others featured in the book: Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder), Burt Rutan (not a “Baron,” but important for his role), and Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group).I chose to read this book because of my previous i The full title of this book, The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos, emphasizes the battle between two of the main figures in the book. While I understand the name-dropping can potentially help in selling more copies, I feel it is important to mention others featured in the book: Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder), Burt Rutan (not a “Baron,” but important for his role), and Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group).I chose to read this book because of my previous interest in space exploration/colonization, which unfortunately did not extend much further than what NASA had accomplished. While I was aware of three of the names involved (Bezos, Musk, and Branson), I did not know who had accomplished what. Author Christian Davenport’s book helped to fill in my knowledge gaps. I questioned whether the book would be on the dry side, but the author’s storytelling style soon proved me wrong.Mr. Davenport lists an extensive number of sources he employed to write the book, along with interviews with the people directly involved in this new space race involving individuals and companies. The end result is an inside look at the dreams and fears along with the failures and successes of each entrepreneur. All possess the ultimate goal of enabling mankind to be able to safely travel in space, yet each also has variations of what he believes can be possible. The author not only details what has happened, he outlines the future plans of each company.I didn’t find this to be a quick read, as there was much to absorb. That said, I found the book to be engaging, and I didn’t feel the urge to speed-read through the content. Mr. Davenport presents the information as if it were a book-length feature article. Extremely informative for anyone wishing to learn what has been going on with the space program over the last twenty years. Four stars.My thanks to NetGalley and Perseus Books (Public Affairs) for an advance copy of this book (Publish Date: April 17, 2018).
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  • Francis Tapon
    January 1, 1970
    My wife is from Cameroon so she thrilled that the first creature that America sent into orbit was from Cameroon.The creature was named Enos. He was a chimp from Cameroon. He flew aboard the Mercury-Atlas 5 on November 29, 1961. Enos logged three hours and 21 minutes in space. He paved the way for the first American orbital flight just three months later.I’m a fan of space exploration and astronomy. I’m a even bigger fan of the privatization of spaceflight so I’ve been following the news fairly c My wife is from Cameroon so she thrilled that the first creature that America sent into orbit was from Cameroon.The creature was named Enos. He was a chimp from Cameroon. He flew aboard the Mercury-Atlas 5 on November 29, 1961. Enos logged three hours and 21 minutes in space. He paved the way for the first American orbital flight just three months later.I’m a fan of space exploration and astronomy. I’m a even bigger fan of the privatization of spaceflight so I’ve been following the news fairly closely.Still, just like I didn’t know about Enos the chimp, Christian Davenport’s upcoming book, Space Barons: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos, delivers plenty of facts that I didn’t know about.If you’ve been meticulously following the headlines, then I suppose there’s little new in Davenport’s book. Test yourself.Did you know that . . .. . . Jeff Bezos nearly died in a helicopter crash?. . . the big aerospace giants (e.g., Boeing) called SpaceX an “ankle biter” and that Elon Musk would basically call Blue Origin the same thing years later?. . . Bezos and Musk are rocket geeks but that Richard Branson knows little about them?. . . Paul Allen loves space exploration but is terrified of the risk of losing a human life?. . . Bezos is the turtle and Musk is the hare?Soviet space featsAlthough it's not mentioned in the book, I recently learned that Americans were NOT the first to land something on the moon. The Soviets were. They landed Luna 2 on the moon's surface a stunning 10 years before Apollo 11 (the first humans to land on the moon). It's just more proof how we glorify our own country. I wonder if you grew up in Russia, you'd hear nonstop about Luna 2 but almost nothing about Apollo 11.Yes, it's more impressive to land humans on the moon and return to them safely to Earth than to crash an object into the moon, but we still ought to acknowledge the Soviet accomplishment and not ignore it. Fortunately, Americans do talk about Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin.Still, that's just the tip of the Soviet Space Program's iceberg. To quote Wikipedia:[The Soviets were] responsible for a number of pioneering accomplishments in space flight including the first intercontinental ballistic missile (R-7), first satellite (Sputnik 1), first animal in Earth orbit (the dog Laika on Sputnik 2), first human in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1), first woman in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova on Vostok 6), first spacewalk (cosmonaut Alexey Leonov on Voskhod 2), first Moon impact (Luna 2), first image of the far side of the moon (Luna 3) and unmanned lunar soft landing (Luna 9), first space rover (Lunokhod 1), first sample of lunar soil automatically extracted and brought to Earth (Luna 16), and first space station (Salyut 1). Further notable records included the first interplanetary probes: Venera 1 and Mars 1 to fly by Venus and Mars, respectively, Venera 3 and Mars 2 to impact the respective planet surface, and Venera 7and Mars 3 to make soft landings on these planets.So let's stop thinking that Americans were the only space pioneers. Sadly, Space Barons continues this sad tradition of ignoring the pioneering accomplishments of the Russians. For example, it doesn't even mention MirCorp, which sent the first space tourist (and wannabe space baron), Dennis Tito, to the International Space Station.Instead, Space Barons focuses mostly on Bezos and Musk since the biggest space barons today. The book discusses Paul Allen, Richard Branson, and Peter Diamandis. Since Elon Musk and SpaceX are such great marketers, you've probably heard a lot about them and seen some of their videos. What I like about Space Barons is that it delves into the mysterious Blue Origin. I just wish Davenport's interview with Bezos was a bit more revealing than it was. Fortunately, Blue Origin has come out of the closet and has shown off some amazing feats. Check out these two videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSDHM...This second video really could use narration/music and an altimeter, but it's still stunning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZJgh...Blue Origin claims that they land at 1 mile per hour, but that landing certainly doesn't look that soft. It looks at least 5 miles per hour, if not 10. Regardless, Skywalker Manniquin survived. Space Barons does not mention several companies that plan to mine asteroids. That's a pity. Perhaps Davenport believes that other companies are too small and/or their leaders aren't true "barons" yet. Despite these shortcomings, I loved reading Space Barons. It's one of those rare books that I devoured. I read a book a week. This is one that was hard to put down. It's one of my favorite books that I read in 2017.Unfortunately, you won't be able to read it until April 17, 2018, which is when the book is made available to the public.The main downside of the book is that by 2020 it will be out of date since progress in space is happening quickly. So pre-order it today and read it once you get it.Verdict: 9/10 stars
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  • Missy
    January 1, 1970
    Space Barons failed to capture my interest in the long run. The initial chapters about Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos weren't well organized, but they had enough interesting bits that I kept coming back to the book. When Burt Rutan's story was introduced, however, the author lost me. Mr. Davenport followed the same patten too many times: tell a bit of a story, introduce a new character, swing back in time to fill in some history of the character, then proceed in the main story on to the next character Space Barons failed to capture my interest in the long run. The initial chapters about Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos weren't well organized, but they had enough interesting bits that I kept coming back to the book. When Burt Rutan's story was introduced, however, the author lost me. Mr. Davenport followed the same patten too many times: tell a bit of a story, introduce a new character, swing back in time to fill in some history of the character, then proceed in the main story on to the next character. Much about the failed progress of NASA was repeated again and again. This is an interesting topic, but it needs to be organized differently. I read an advanced readers copy provided by NetGalley.#Space Barons #NetGalley
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  • Chris Via
    January 1, 1970
    The latest iPhone is great, but the real buzz in science and technology is the plight to colonize Mars. Perhaps still too far-fetched for some, the race to be the first commercial shuttle between Earth and Mars is a very real and burgeoning enterprise, with unthinkable funds being expended (and sometimes exploded) along the way. Recent movies and books such as Interstellar (2014), The Martian (2011; 2014), and The Terranauts (2016) have begun to imbue collective popular consciousness with the ra The latest iPhone is great, but the real buzz in science and technology is the plight to colonize Mars. Perhaps still too far-fetched for some, the race to be the first commercial shuttle between Earth and Mars is a very real and burgeoning enterprise, with unthinkable funds being expended (and sometimes exploded) along the way. Recent movies and books such as Interstellar (2014), The Martian (2011; 2014), and The Terranauts (2016) have begun to imbue collective popular consciousness with the rather old space ambitions, but it is often hard to separate fact from fiction when they are so tightly coupled. This is where Christian Davenport’s forthcoming book, The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos, fills a rapidly widening void. A reporter for the Washington Post, Davenport has extensive material and history from which to work, and a reporter’s knack for stating facts and extracting the perfect array of material to tell the story.Read full review: http://www.chrisviabookreviews.com/20...
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  • Gary Moreau
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a thorough and professional review of the current state of space flight in the US. As the cover promises, it’s a tale filled with the current rock stars of capitalism: Musk, Bezos, Branson, et al. And a few names that have made history but aren’t quite as familiar: Burt Rutan, Mike Melvill, and a host of others.It’s a book of tales, not technology, and that’s great for most readers. And the stories and subplots are magnificent and glorious; just what you’d expect from men who have a This book is a thorough and professional review of the current state of space flight in the US. As the cover promises, it’s a tale filled with the current rock stars of capitalism: Musk, Bezos, Branson, et al. And a few names that have made history but aren’t quite as familiar: Burt Rutan, Mike Melvill, and a host of others.It’s a book of tales, not technology, and that’s great for most readers. And the stories and subplots are magnificent and glorious; just what you’d expect from men who have already achieved wealth and fame and now have the time and resources to feed the soulful flames that burn within. These are men not content to sit by the pool, but whose inner curiosity, in its immense proportions, define who they are.The book is well researched and easy to read. I definitely came away with a much fuller portrait of Musk and Bezos (a study in contrast, for sure), in particular, and while it would be impossible for any author not to have an opinion about the players, Davenport is a pro and works hard to simply tell their stories and not show his own cards.I only have two issues with the book. The first is common to all discussion involving the tech industry. There is a lot of effort expended differentiating between the commercial space industry (Musk & Bezos), the government (NASA), and the “contractors” (Boeing, LMT, & the military-industrial complex). The commercial companies (particularly SpaceX) are, of course, the quixotic “everyman,” the feisty, never-sleeps underdog who refuses to give in to convention and who is obsessed with saving money and making time. In that narrative, NASA and the contractors are old, overweight, slow, expensive, and risk-averse. It’s the now familiar Silicon Valley (the figurative SV) narrative and it’s starting to sound a bit over-hyped and dated. Narrative is a function of perspective. Replacing the obscenely expensive latch previously used on the nose cone by the grumpy old men with the one used on the stall doors in the bathroom sounds ingenious; until it fails and we discover that the latch was expensive for a reason. It’s not the wrong idea, mind you. But the distinction between genius and rash judgment can be a subtle one that is only apparent with hindsight. Which brings me to the second concern. There is an underlying implication that NASA and the contractors all get their money from the taxpayers but the "commercial" companies do not. The “astropreneurs”, in other words, have skin in the game and according to the SV narrative, that is the essence of genius and value. And that, too, is true to a point. But all of this delightful technology ultimately comes from the American people. All of the engineers, whichever entity they work for, were all educated in large part with taxpayer funds, they drive on taxpayer-funded roads, they enjoy the protection of taxpayer-funded defense, etc. It’s not that the entrepreneurial perspective is false, but it is often over-stated for the world we live in. Whether we accept it or not, we now live in a collective society; made all the more collective by technology.And on a related note, of course, there is a libertarian message from the tech entrepreneurs – regulation will kill the industry and the opportunity that is space. Again the narrative is classic tech libertarianism. But space doesn’t exist in isolation any more than tech ultimately does. If a commercial rocket plunges into a populated area, the fact is that the government/taxpayer will be expected to come to the rescue. I am as anguished by the US lack of commitment to space as any of the people in the book. I was a teenager when Armstrong walked on the moon and I remember it vividly. It was liberating for every man, woman, and child on the planet in a way almost nothing since has been, although the fall of the Berlin Wall came close. But we were able to do it, in part, because we responded to President Kennedy’s bold challenge as a nation. It was a collective effort.I think the space entrepreneurs covered in this book are remarkable men and women. They represent a core element of the American spirit. But at the heart of that same spirit is another American ideal; “It is amazing what can be accomplished if we don’t worry who gets the credit for it.”
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    If you are picking up this book, I suspect you are a space enthusiast. You’ll love the book! If you are not a space enthusiast but admire the Billionaire Barons fueling the new golden age of space ... you’ll also enjoy the book. The author does a great job of weaving together the stories of the people at the forefront of a new space race. I also came away with much more admiration for the Blue Origin approach. It’s an exciting time to be alive for those with a passion for space! This book captur If you are picking up this book, I suspect you are a space enthusiast. You’ll love the book! If you are not a space enthusiast but admire the Billionaire Barons fueling the new golden age of space ... you’ll also enjoy the book. The author does a great job of weaving together the stories of the people at the forefront of a new space race. I also came away with much more admiration for the Blue Origin approach. It’s an exciting time to be alive for those with a passion for space! This book captures that in a bottle.
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    This is about the shift of space travel and to some extent space exploration to private corporations and away from governments. The author does a good job of introducing the people who are behind the private sector push to fill the void left by decreasing NASA budgets and ever-changing priorities by different administrations for space exploration. I would like to read more about Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and the others mentioned in this book.
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  • Alf
    January 1, 1970
    A good summary of the new space movement. If you're a space nerd and have been following the industry closely you won't find much new information here. Also if you love the technical aspects of space travel this book will not satisfy you. It mainly covers Musk and Bezos and the race between them, with some focus also on Branson and Paul Allen. All in all an ok read, but those looking for new information will be disappointed
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  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Perseus Books, Public Affairs and Netgalley for the ARC of this fantastic non-fiction work. Admittedly, I am a bit of a space geek, but I don’t think you have to be to enjoy this. The new space race competition by 21st century billionaires is fascinating and exciting. The writing was very good, the pace was perfect.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    BreathlessI was bo n in ‘58, and the Mercury, a Gemini, and Apollo astronauts became my heroes.Now I have deed to that list.Fabulous read.Keep dreaming ... and as Snoopy already said: “Ad Astra!” :)
  • Te Riu Warren
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting collection of anecdotes about the new space entrepreneurs. Lacks general cohesion, but an enjoyable read regardless.
  • Theresa
    January 1, 1970
    4.75/5🌟
  • Jim Ogle
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating story of the men, not countries, driving the space race. Well told, written and performed.
  • Deedee
    January 1, 1970
    Dewey 338.762FAY-PT
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