Summary

The Space Barons is the story of a group of billionaire entrepreneurs who are pouring their fortunes into the epic resurrection of the American space program. Nearly a half-century after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, these Space Barons-most notably Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, along with Richard Branson and Paul Allen-are using Silicon Valley-style innovation to dramatically lower the cost of space travel, and send humans even further than NASA has gone. These entrepreneurs have founded some of the biggest brands in the world-Amazon, Microsoft, Virgin, Tesla, PayPal-and upended industry after industry. Now they are pursuing the biggest disruption of all: space.

Based on years of reporting and exclusive interviews with all four billionaires, this authoritative account is a dramatic tale of risk and high adventure, the birth of a new Space Age, fueled by some of the world's richest men as they struggle to end governments' monopoly on the cosmos. The Space Barons is also a story of rivalry-hard-charging startups warring with established contractors, and the personal clashes of the leaders of this new space movement, particularly Musk and Bezos, as they aim for the moon and Mars and beyond.

Reviews

"Readers will thrill at this lucid, detailed, and admiring account of wealthy space buffs who are spending their own money, making headlines, producing genuine technical advances, and resurrecting the yearning to explore the cosmos."―Kirkus, Starred Review

"Starting with a blank canvas, Christian Davenport has painted a comprehensive portrait of some of the most influential leaders in commercial space, and indeed of the industry itself. Well-researched and entertaining, The Space Barons gives both a rich texture to the beginnings and a tantalizing outline of the future of commercial human space travel."―Michael Lopez-Alegria, former NASA astronaut, past president of the Commercial Space Flight Federation, and principal, MLA Space, LLC

"A must-read. A compelling account of how today's self-made tycoons are driven to change our world and our relationship with outer space. This is distinctly an American story, nowhere but America could these Space Barons rise, thrive, and succeed. Follow their journey into the future."―Dr. Mark Albrecht, executive secretary of the National Space Council under President George H. W. Bush and author of Falling Back to Earth: A First Hand Account of the Great Space Race and the End of the Cold War

"Unlike the space race of the 1950s and 1960s, the new space race is not a competition between superpowers-it is a competition among billionaires with egos and ambitions that match their fortunes. The Space Barons provides a superb behind-the-scenes look that chronicles the new space race from its beginning some two decades ago to the headlines of today. This book is a must-read for everyone who fell in love with space as a kid and still longs to reach for the heavens."―Todd Harrison, Center for Strategic and International Studies

About the Author
Image of Christian Davenport
Christian Davenport

Christian Davenport is a staff writer for The Washington Post, covering the defense and space industries for the financial desk. He worked on this book while a Public Policy Fellow in 2017 with the Wilson Center's Digital Futures Project. Read More