Money & Power
10 Billionaires Investing in Space Exploration
The Billionaire's Guide to the Galaxy starts with a big-ticket venture.
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Becoming the master of the universe might be just an investment away for some of the world’s leading billionaires.

Private-owned space-travel companies have proliferated in the last few years. The government even jumped on board this week, when President Trump announced a $19.5 billion bill to fund NASA programs for the 2018 fiscal year. Add a smattering of billionaires investing in asteroid mining and missions to Mars, and well, space colonization seems almost inevitable.

Space X Founder and CEO Elon Musk isn't holding out for government funding, though. The bill "changes almost nothing about what NASA is doing," Musk wrote. "Existing programs stay in place and there is no added funding for Mars.”

Musk is a leading entrepreneur in the industry, but who else is bankrolling space ventures?

1. Elon Musk, Space X and Tesla Space X founder and CEO


Space Co: The company on every space geek's mind: SpaceX.

Enterprises: Musk has been collaborating with NASA under a $1.6 billion contract to enable colonization of, and space travel to, Mars. Recently, the program has flown 10 cargo missions to the International Space Station in addition to the historic feat of flipping rocket Falcon 9 in space and landing it upright on a drone ship in January 2017.

Net worth: $11.5 Billion

2. Jeffrey Bezos, Amazon CEO


Space Co: Blue Origin

Enterprises: The venture has successfully sent its suborbital spacecraft New Shepard to space six times. Bezos recently unveiled a new rocket engine built to advance the company goal of orbiting people and satellites in space. His direct competition: SpaceX.

Net worth: $73.4 Billion

3. Richard Branson, Virgin Group CEO and Founder


Space Ventures: Virgin Galactic

Enterprises: Branson recently announced he will take 75-year-old Stephen Hawking to space on Virgin Galactic. (Space travel has been a dream of the renowned physicist.) Branson is creating a fleet of rockets to take tourists to suborbital space at a price of $250,000.

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Net worth: $5 Billion

4. Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder


Space Co: Vulcan Aerospace

Enterprises: While his counterpart, Bill Gates, disdains those who spend money on space exploration, Allen recently created Stratolaunch Systems to launch satellites into orbit from the world's largest airplane.

Net worth: $15.8 Billion

5. Larry Page, CEO of Google


Space Co: Backer of Planetary Resources

Enterprises: The venture aims to mine asteroids for precious metals and water for Earth or space travel.

Net worth: $35 Billion

6. Eric Schmidt, chairman of Alphabet Inc.


Space Co: Backer of Planetary Resources

Enterprises: In addition to asteroid mining, the company is creating an "Earth observation system," which will use 10 microsatellites to determine the make-up of any spot on our planet.

Net worth: $10.1 billion

7. James Cameron, film producer and director


Space Co: Backer of Planetary Resources

Enterprises: See above

Net worth: $700 Million

8. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO


Space Co: Serving on the board of Starshot

Enterprises: Funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, the $100 million research program aims to explore space for extraterrestrial life and to eventually perform a flyby mission to Alpha Centauri within a generation.

Net worth: $58.9 Billion

9. Charles Simonyi, architect of Microsoft


Space Co: He doesn't own any private projects, but the billionaire is the only person to visit space twice as a tourist. The trips cost him $60 million dollars and six months of training.

Net Worth: $2 billion

10. Luxembourg (the country)


Space Co: A $200 million dollar fund for asteroid mining

Enterprises: In an effort to attract space mining companies — like Planetary Resources and Deep Space — the tiny nation of 600,000 people hopes to become an international hub for the space industry.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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