Driven in part by the media narrative of “Billionaires’ Space Race,” criticism (short-sighted, in my view) of Richard Branson’s flight aboard his VSS Unity and Jeff Bezos’s upcoming flight aboard his Blue Origin has predictably settled down to “boys playing with toys” and the more-favored uses toward which the money could have gone (Never mind that Branson’s Virgin Unite foundation has raised and donated millions, and Bezos is among the top 50 charity donors in the U.S. in 2020).

I choose to see this as two men putting their money where their mouths are, and putting their own personal butts on the line, in furtherance of private space travel — something I’ve long supported because nothing of any lasting significance is going to happen out there until someone figures out how to make a buck off it.

One indeed wonders how the aviation pioneers of a century (and more) ago would have been greeted in today’s media (and social media) environment.