'Focus on saving the planet': Prince William launches attack on space tourism

14 October 2021, 12:57

Prince William has criticised the space race, which has included Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin project
Prince William has criticised the space race, which has included Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin project. Picture: Alamy

By Press Association

The Duke of Cambridge has criticised the space race and space tourism, saying the world's greatest minds need to focus on trying to fix the earth instead.

William's comments will be aired the day after Star Trek's William Shatner made history by becoming the oldest person in space.

The 90-year-old actor, known for his role as Captain James T Kirk, lifted off from the Texas desert on Wednesday in a rocket built by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's space travel company Blue Origin.

The duke, who was interviewed about climate change ahead of his inaugural Earthshot Prize awards, said: "The idea the space race is on at the moment, we've seen everyone trying to get space tourism going...

"We need some of the world's greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live."

Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson kicked off the US-based space tourism boom on 11 July, riding his own rocketship to space.

Mr Bezos followed nine days later aboard his own capsule.

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Elon Musk stayed behind as his SpaceX company launched its first private flight last month, sending a billionaire, a cancer survivor and two ticket winners into orbit.

And last week, the Russians sent an actor and film director to the International Space Station for movie-making.

William also warned the Cop26 summit, where world leaders will gather in Glasgow at the end of the month, against "clever speak, clever words but not enough action".

Blue Origin Launch
William Shatner, second left, after the Blue Origin flight yesterday. Picture: Getty

"I think for COP to communicate very clearly and very honestly what the problems are and what the solutions are going to be, is critical," he said.

"We can't have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action."

The duke, who was speaking to BBC Newscast, also expressed his concerns about a rise in climate anxiety in young people, and said it would be a "absolute disaster" if his eldest son, Prince George, was having to talk about the same issue in 30 years time when it was too late.