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Space Tourism: Who Wants To Take a Spin in Outer Space?

The Space Race of the 1950s paved the way for mankind’s landing on the moon. Since then, several missions have been launched exploring the depths of the outer space. Half a century later, a new space race is looming. The mission: to make the space the next tourist destination. And the race to take sightseers beyond the Karman Line has intensified as a host of companies vie for a spot in the space tourism game.  Without a doubt, the coming years are going to be an exciting time for the space tourism industry.

Sir Richard Branson quote
Sir Richard Branson–one of the most innovative, daring and inspiring names in the world.

A Timeline of Space Tourism

Space tourism rests mainly on the achievements of human space flight. Experts and observers in the field began recognizing the idea that private citizens might be able to travel and go to space in the future with the replication of human space flight.

The developments in the field of space travel continued over the years. By the late 1990s and early 2000, private companies leaning towards space tourism were founded – one of them is Space Adventures. Established in 1998, Space Adventures is a pioneer in the space tourism industry. In fact, Space Adventures partnered with Russian space agency Roscosmos and arranged the very first outer space tour in 2001. At the dawn of the new millennium, multimillionaire Dennis Tito became the first private citizen to take part in the space tourism industry. With a hefty price tag of $20 million aboard the Soyuz TMA-32, Tito spent seven days in the International Space Station.

cartoon of spaceships flying across and crowding outer space, depicting the race happening in the space tourism industry
Space travel tourism just might crowd the outer space one day!

Soon, six more passengers followed Tito’s lead. The list includes South African computer magnate, Mark Shuttleworth (2002), American sensor hardware millionaire, Greg Olsen (2005), Iranian-American software millionaire, Anousheh Ansari (2006), Hungarian-American software billionaire, Charles Simonyi (2007 and 2009), British-American video-game millionaire, Richard Garriott (2008), and Canadian billionaire artist, Guy Laliberte (2009). In addition, Roscosmos announced a new deal with Space Adventures to send two more tourists to the International Space Station by the year 2021.

Yusaku Maezaw quote
Yusaku Maezaw will circle the moon in 2023.

Trailblazing Businesses in the Space Tourism Industry

Due to space travel’s astronomical price, it has been a decade since Space Adventures has flown a tourist out into space.  We saw a slowdown in the past decade. However, with emerging technologies and decrease in space travel cost, we’ve seen a resurgence of interest in the space tourism industry. Here is a roundup of maverick companies paving the way for space tourism:

  • Virgin Galactic has sold more than 700 tickets for suborbital flight aboard Spaceship Two. Virgin Galactic will carry six passengers plus two pilots at a time flying 50 miles above Earth. While Virgin Galactic is racing to be the first private company to take passengers to space by 2020, the company is also the first space travel tourism venture to go public. Investment firm Social Capital Hedosophobia owns 49% of Virgin Galactic. It oversees the completion of the IPO process by the end of the year.
  • SpaceX plans to bring tourists to the moon aboard the Starship (formerly known as the Big Falcon Rocket.) The spacecraft has a capacity of up to 100 passengers. It aims to achieve orbital launch by the year 2020 and moon circuit space trip by the year 2023. Recently, SpaceX disclosed that fashion innovator and globally recognized art curator Yusaku Maezawa is the company’s first private passenger. He will be part of the week-long mission to circle the moon in 2023.
  • Blue Origin, a company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, has been taking major steps in building the road to space. The company is currently working on a suborbital spaceflight project, the New Shepard and the orbital spaceflight venture, New Glenn. Both missions are aimed at developing reusable rocket systems that can significantly reduce space travel cost and routinely bring payloads and people to the Earth’s orbit and beyond. Additionally, Blue Origin has made significant investments in the Space Coast in Florida.
  • NASA is exploring the possibility of bringing space tourists aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner. The move was an attempt to assess the viability of opening the International Space Station to commercial use. The prospect of continuing the upkeep of ISS without Russia’s financial contribution, therefore, prompted NASA’s decision.
  • Nevada-based Bigelow Space Operations is quick to jump on NASA’s move to privatize the International Space Station. The company has reserved four seats aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. Bigelow Aerospace owns Bigelow Space Operations. It aims to advance space travel tourism by building inflatable space habitats in low Earth orbit by the year 2021.
  • Axiom Space has been deeply involved in the International Space Station program since its inception. The reported dismantling of the project by the year 2024 has prompted Axiom Space to take an active role in the conversion of ISS to commercial use. In fact, Axiom Space’s vision of the space tourism industry is promising and vibrant, the company has tapped Philippe Starck to design Axiom Space Hotel’s interior.
Chris Hadfield quote
Our limited view of the world is different from what it really is.

Beyond Space Tourism: A Shift in Perspective

Astronauts coming back from outer space share that seeing our planet from an outsider’s vantage point leaves a profound impression. They call it the overview effect. Looking at the pale blue dot, the truth becomes clear, and conflicts and disagreement become less important.  The need to protect the planet, therefore, becomes urgent and important. With the renaissance of space travel tourism, more people will have the opportunity to gaze at our blue planet. Perhaps the more clearly we see Earth as one place. And collectively, we can make better decisions for humanity and for the planet.

The World of E-Sports: Players, Teams and Constant Growth

It has been nearly three decades since Electronic Arts, better recognized as EA Sports, released Madden NFL. While most are aware of the popularity of e-sports, not everyone appreciates the magnitude with which this sector has expanded. Not only has it developed into a billion-dollar-plus industry, but it also has both collegiate and professional levels. And increasingly, the way e-sports teams are functioning looks a lot like other professional sports leagues.

While several e-sports teams and leagues continue to advance in the marketplace, bigger names are beginning to surface in the field. E-sports players are increasingly being recruited and drafted like other athletes with elite skills. Understanding this, it might be time to wonder what’s around the corner for e-sports games.  Are e-sports teams simply another fad sporting entertainment experience? Or are we on the verge of a “Ready Player One” type of shift?

Welcome to the World of E-Sports Games

E-sports, by definition, represents a global venue of video gaming where leagues and teams compete against one another. With streaming and interconnectivity, e-sports have boomed over the last few decades. In fact, it continues to realize double-digit growth, bringing in over $1 billion annually in revenues. Likewise, e-sports games have attracted more than 400 million spectators of which half are enthusiasts. Twitch is an example of a dedicated streaming service for these enthusiasts to view their favorite esports teams.

One of the most impressive developments in e-sports games has been the recent rise in popularity of e-sports teams. Several big e-sports companies now compete for viewership by promoting their own game leagues. E-sports companies purchase esports teams because of their lucrative potential. And major sponsors and media hosts are also aligning with various e-sports games’ competitions. Based on the interest alone, it appears e-sports is about to explode.

Major E-Sports Games Hosts and Players

So, who are the biggest and boldest companies in esports games today? EA Sports continues to be a major player not only with Madden NFL but also Apex Legends. Activision Blizzard has recently catapulted to the top with its Overwatch League in addition to its Call of Duty League. And others include Take-Two’s NBA 2K League, Riot Games’ League of Legends, and Epic Games’ Fortnite. Each of these e-sports games and leagues is attracting tremendous interest across the board. And naturally, fielding e-sports teams for these leagues is an essential task.

Interestingly, recruiting players for these e-sports teams has evolved into a typical draft-like process similar to regular sports. The best and brightest are identified based on competitive ranking modes that many e-sports have. Likewise, both collegiate and professional organizations now publicize talented e-sports players. The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) has 50 participating colleges with scholarship awards to give. And with endorsements and prize earnings, the top e-sports games players can earn as much as seven figures.

A Growing Market (and Revenues) for E-Sports Teams

Overall, the e-sports games’ market is expected to be over $3 billion by the year 2022. The question is how e-sports teams and leagues generate actually revenues. With the increased popularity of leagues of e-sports teams, tournament ticket sales offer one revenues stream. League of Legends tournament attracted over $5.5 billion in sales recently. With nearly 600 major e-sports games’ events each year, this reflects a significant portion of potential earnings.

Other revenue streams for e-sports games naturally include unit sales to consumers as well as related merchandise and advertising. But increasingly, brand sponsors and media partners are contributing sizable amounts to the pie. Annual revenues for brand sponsors exceed $700 million annually. AT&T, Dell, and Intel are some examples of such sponsors. ESPN and Disney have agreed to broadcast esports games such as the Overwatch League. Thus, the revenues for e-sports teams and games are quite diversified.

The Future of E-Sports Teams – Franchises and Fan Bases

The industry of e-sports games is growing rapidly, and not surprisingly, those in the sporting business have taken notice. In the Overwatch League, the New England Patriots and L.A. Rams already have e-sports teams among others. Recently, the Minnesota Vikings announced they were interested in fielding a Call of Duty League e-sports team. And the Houston Rockets recently paid $13 million to enter Riot Games’ NBA 2K. It is evident that significant interest among these professional sports teams exists.

It is hard to envision the magnitude e-sports might have in the future. However, based on recent revenues, future projections, and increasing interests, it could be tremendous. By all accounts, the e-sports games market is already a booming industry. But it may well be that e-sports teams will represent major urban markets just like other sports. And with its ease of communications outreach, e-sports could evolve into a truly global league network. If that happens, then e-sports games may surpass other sports leagues as we know them today.

Girlgaze and the Quest for Gender Equality

From the Suffragettes to Women’s Liberation, to Time’s Up and #MeToo Movement—throughout history, several women’s movements have brought forth advocacies that push for gender equality. While we have made landmark achievements, it is clear that we need to take more significant steps towards reducing gender disparity. Amidst the resurgence of feminist movements, an innovative platform called Girlgaze emerges.

The Story of Girlgaze Inc. & How Girls See the World

In 2016, Amanda de Cadenet was a rising photographer, author, and TV Host. As a photographer, de Cadenet noticed the glaring pay gap between male and female photographers. While she was able to book editorial jobs, the paid gigs were sparse and few. She recalls, “The glass ceiling was so low that I couldn’t get off my knees.”

Indeed, the pay gap was a significant concern. But for de Cadenet, the apparent disparity in the number of pictures taken by female photographers was more disquieting. With this environment, the opportunity to present female experiences as seen through a women’s point of view is lost. She further adds, “If the goal is for us to be accepted and embrace who we are, our flaws and all, we’re never going to see those pieces of ourselves depicted in media when taken from the perspective that doesn’t have an experience of those things.”

a photo of a young brunette woman looking through a camera and taking a photo of a young blonde woman while they're standing on the sidewalk of a street amid the bold impact of Girlgaze
It all started with the hashtag #girlgaze on Instagram.

In February 2016, gripped by the need for a new way to view the world, de Cadenet started the hashtag #girlgaze on Instagram. She encouraged female and female-identifying photographers to submit photos of women, by women as a testament to the growing clamor to take steps towards reducing gender disparity.

In just a few hours, the Girlgaze Instagram account received an influx of support from female and female-identifying photographers. There was a huge turnout that underscores the clamor to tell the story through the female perspective. Remarkably, Amanda de Cadenet was able to build a network of 200,000 female and female-identifying photographers and directors. Soon, with a massive group of creatives, de Cadenet launched the Girlgaze Network.

Taking Steps Towards Reducing Gender Disparity: One Job at a Time

A new wave of feminism has been sweeping across societies today. With the aid of technology and the internet, the prevailing attitude aims to examine—if not dismantle—interlocking systems that suppress groups based on gender, race and age. Responding to the call of times, Girlgaze tapped the power of photos to promote social reform.

Girlgaze promotes inclusivity, resistance, leadership, and authenticity by creating paid opportunities for female-identifying and non-binary creatives. With Amanda de Cadenet at the helm, Girlgaze is guided by a powerhouse creative committee composed of photojournalist-author, Lynsey Addario; fashion photographer, Inez Van Lamsweerde; and actress-supermodel-entrepreneur, Amber Valletta. To date, Girlgaze has partnered with global brands such as Warby Parker, Levi’s, Google, Adobe and Nike through branded content, product collaboration and event production.

cartoon of female photographers helping each other up on pedestals as Girlgaze takes steps towards reducing gender disparity
Girlgaze partners with brands to create paid opportunities for female-identifying and non-binary creatives!

Women Empowerment through Balanced Storytelling

From economic growth to improved quality of life for everyone—the benefits of gender equality make it worth pursuing.

One of the steps towards reducing gender disparity is ensuring that women are well-represented. Seeing more images and hearing stories of women through the female point-of-view empowers women to speak up, to be seen and to be heard.

As a global community of passionate creatives, purposeful brands, and socially-aware organizations, Girlgaze is on a mission to close the gender gap. Indeed, there’s so much more that still needs to be done, and Girlgaze is stepping up to the challenge.

Girlgaze Heartens Bold Steps Towards Reducing Gender Disparity Cartoon

cartoon of female photographers helping each other up on pedestals as Girlgaze takes steps towards reducing gender disparity
Girlgaze partners with brands to create paid opportunities for female-identifying and non-binary creatives!