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Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek 7/30/2018

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Get the digital magazine subscription today and draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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United States
Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

6 min

They say there are only two plots: Species goes on a journey, and aliens arrive in town. UFO sightings aside, humans have been living the first story for decades. The first stage of the trip began in 1957, when Sputnik 1 arced its way around the world, and ended in 1972, when Apollo 17 Commander Gene Cernan traced his daughter’s initials in moondust and stepped off the lunar surface. The second big stage is upon us now. A trail marker was laid down in February, when SpaceX equipped a Falcon Heavy rocket with a Tesla Roadster and a data crystal containing Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy and fired it toward Mars, then landed two of the Falcon’s boosters in synchrony at Cape Canaveral. At least 2.3 million people watched the YouTube livestream—high…

17 min
“we’ve got this”

In early February, Gwynne Shotwell arrived in Saudi Arabia for a bit of last-minute cleanup. SpaceX, the rocket company where Shotwell serves as president and chief operating officer, was days away from its most ambitious launch yet. Its new rocket, Falcon Heavy, would have a larger capacity than any that had lifted off in the U.S. since the Apollo era. And unlike NASA’s Saturn V, which last flew in 1973, the Falcon Heavy would be reusable, capable of bringing its three boosters back from the edge of space and landing them vertically. To make the rocket’s first flight even more memorable, Shotwell’s boss, SpaceX founder and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, wanted the experimental payload to include his own sports car. If all went well, Musk’s cherry-red Tesla Roadster would be…

6 min
what about bezos?

On July 18, outside the West Texas town of Van Horn, hundreds of Blue Origin employees and their families and friends gathered to watch the New Shepard rocket blast off toward the edge of space. The rocket performed the kind of feat that was once the province of sci-fi stories and discarded NASA white papers. It took off vertically like a conventional rocket, rose 66 miles above Earth to jettison a parachute-equipped crew capsule carrying a test dummy, then returned to the same tract of land and gracefully landed upright, drag brakes deployed, retro booster flaming. The capsule touched down nearby, raising a cloud of dust. Thousands watched this precise interplay of physics and chemistry online, and for those listening closely, 39 minutes and 15 seconds into the broadcast, a…

16 min
masters of the stratosphere

The chicken sandwich has to get to space. This is what everyone at World View Enterprises Inc. was thinking as they set to work in the predawn hours of June 29, 2017, at the Page Municipal Airport in Arizona. KFC Corp. had hired World View, a maker of high-altitude balloons, to ferry a Zinger, which consists of a spicy breaded chicken fillet topped with lettuce and a little mayonnaise on a sesame seed bun, through the upper reaches of the atmosphere and into the heavens. The publicity stunt would result in glorious images of the sandwich set against the stark black backdrop of space, and it would announce World View and its balloons to the paying public. “At first we thought it might not be a good idea,” says Andrew Antonio,…

4 min
a cancer cure could start in the thermosphere

Shou-Ching Jaminet, a molecular biologist and former researcher at Harvard Medical School, spent almost a year preparing an experiment for her small biotech startup, Angiex, to study the effects of weightlessness on a potential cancer drug. By June she was nervous with anticipation, readying her project for launch on an International Space Station resupply mission powered by a SpaceX Falcon 9. But before it blasted off, she wanted to lay eyes on a dolphin. In rocketry, she’d been told, it’s good luck to see one (and bad luck to see a pig) prior to liftoff. So the night before launch, she and her family headed to a waterfront restaurant near Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It was an auspicious dinner: She spotted not one dolphin but four. At precisely…

3 min
forgotten images from the shuttle’s glory days

As a kid growing up in the 1960s, John A. Chakeres would persuade his mother to let him stay home from school to watch space launches; using his father’s Rolleiflex camera, he’d take pictures of the TV. This was the beginning of his obsession with NASA, and it would lead him to get his B.F.A. in photography in 1975. The next manned spaceflights wouldn’t happen for six years, however. Chakeres’s first successful attempt at photographing a launch—after a couple of false starts—came on March 22, 1982, the third voyage of Columbia. Over the next four years he shot Discovery, Atlantis, and Challenger multiple times at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But he didn’t shoot Challenger’s last mission. The launch was delayed repeatedly because of cold weather, and the day before…