As the headlines proclaimed on July 11th, 2021: “Virgin Galactic owner Sir Richard Branson rocketed into space Sunday, on an edge-of-the-seat sub-orbital test flight intended to demonstrate his company's air-launched spaceplane is ready for passengers who can afford the ultimate thrill ride.” - (CBS)
At 8:40 a.m. local time (10:40 a.m. EDT; 1440 GMT), the crew of Virgin Galactic's Unity 22 test flight mission took off from the company's Spaceport America facility near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico and flew just above the boundary of space, where the four passengers and two pilots experienced about four minutes of weightlessness.
Branson and three other employees rode on a flight as passengers, marking the first time a spaceflight company founder has travelled on his own ship into outer space (according to the NASA definition of outer space beginning at 50 miles above the Earth).
As many of you know, unlike the space race of the 1960’s between the US of A and the USSR, the new space race is being run between billionaires. In a savvy media stunt, Branson’s Virgin Galactic beat Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin (the aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company founded by Bezos in 2000), into Earth orbit by a week or two.
Of course, everybody’s favorite bitcoin manipulator and American Archon, Elon Musk, and his aerospace company: SpaceX has been in the news quite regularly, as of late. So these are the BIG THREE billionaire, privatization-of-space players who plan a commercial presence in space. Beyond megalomania, their justification for spending billions of dollars on the bourgeoning commercial space industry is that, as time goes by and the industry expands… costs will go down so everyone will be able to afford a vacation in space! This trickle down concept sounds somehow familiar, don't it?
In other news, the newest film version of Frank Herbert’s epic science fiction masterpiece: Dune, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is set to open in US theatres in October, 2021. Dune tells the story of a vast, feudal spacefaring civilization in which various noble houses control planetary fiefs. Set in the distant future, the galactic empire is ruled by the “Great Houses” who have overseen planetary politics since humankind first left the home world.
The Great Houses, or spacefaring dynasties... are controlled by the family bloodlines of those who dominated early space flight. The noble Atreides family, the corrupt “House Harkonnen” and other greater and/or lesser houses control planetary fiefdoms and their resources. All of these dynasties are in turn overseen by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV.
Dune, the book, came out in 1965 to much critical acclaim. The political intrigues of the book were thought to mirror (then) current earthling politics, with Dune’s precious “spice” trade, echoing international oil trade (or international drug trafficking) of contemporary Earth. As we all know, “The Spice Must Flow!”
Similar dynastic themes are echoed in other works of science fiction. Willian Gibson’s 1984 “Neuromancer” has the Tessier-Ashpool family… Netflix’s “Altered Carbon” cyberpunk series has the uber-wealthy Bancroft dynasty… to name a couple of examples.
As science fiction has always been a cautionary tale… a genre of what may come to pass… it is not unreasonable to come to a conclusion that what we are witnessing with Sir Richard Branson’s epic space flight… is the dawn of the “Great Houses” of Earth as a spacefaring civilization. Branson, Bezos and Musk align quite nicely with Atreides, Harkonnen and Tessier-Ashpool. Apparently, Branson, et al are just itching to get off this po-dunk, backwater planet, whose resources are all-but played out, and whose environment is mostly spent.
Such recent off-world shenanigans sheds a whole new light on the term: Breakaway Civilization, doesn’t it? House Musk is clearly headed for Mars... I wonder what the other two "Great Houses" of 21st century Earth have in mind? One thing is clear... the fact that Branson's spaceport is just outside of "Truth or Consequences" has a definite synchronistic ring to it...
Also of synchronistic note on the Virgin Galactic story... the press made a big deal over Branson's 17 year history in the space business. Of course the number 17 is a cosmic trigger number, akin to #23 in synchromystic significance. This element alone, should put this story on our sync radar... keep an eye out for further developments...