Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in front of a space capsule
Chuck Bigger / dpa
In the disaster region of Ahrweiler there is internet again - thanks to »Starlink«.
Last Tuesday, the authorities set up the first dishes of the new satellite network.
Flood victims can dial in with their mobile phones free of charge.
A rescue worker reports that reception via space is working well.
I'm telling the episode because many people are currently upset about three men who are spending their fortunes on rocket flights, Virgin owner Richard Branson, Tesla boss Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Left party leader Susanne Hennig-Wellsow speaks of “megalomaniac billionaires”. These are "rich, older men who want to satisfy their own ego," judged a "Tagesschau" commentator. Half of Twitter agrees: White old sacks compare tails in space - oh, how embarrassing!
It may be that Branson, Musk, and Bezos are driven by male vanity. Maybe they've watched Star Trek too much. It can only be fine with us. What is certain is that Musk's craze for rockets is the reason why many people in the Ahr Valley have a network again, because the new "Starlink" system belongs to his space company. He has already launched more than a thousand satellites into space for test operations, and several thousand more are to follow.
Musk's goal is to create high-speed consumer Internet in orbit that can reach every corner of the world. His favorite enemy Jeff Bezos is also planning a satellite-based Internet and is investing billions in the project. Megalomania? Well, for Western space agencies like Nasa and Esa, who work with tax money, space hotels, lunar colonies, and manned Mars missions are actually unaffordable. If we don't want to leave all this to the Chinese, we need crazy financiers like Bezos and Musk.
Some say that the most recent space excursions have brought no new knowledge, are scientifically worthless, and the worse the poor climate balance. I think this criticism is small-minded. Apart from the fact that the billionaires have replaced the single-use rocket with a reusable one: Of course, nobody knows how their journey into space will continue, which is what makes the mission so fascinating. When we first landed on the moon 52 years ago, nobody suspected that space travel would not only give us a new image of the earth, but also digital photo sensors, GPS, scratch-resistant glasses, fire-resistant textiles and the use of special algae, which are essential for an extra helping of omega-3. Fatty acids in food.
Anyone who considers transport bicycles to be the panacea of the future can continue to get upset about billionaires. Everyone else should be happy that there are people who chase their childhood dreams.