So, after years of trying, Sir Richard Branson has flown to the edge of space and back in his own aircraft. The flight took an hour and a half and achieved weightlessness for about four minutes, during which time his cabin-mates floated about and grinned in the time-honoured astronautical manner.
Branson, however, made a point of remaining strapped in his seat so as to do a piece to camera saying what a magical experience this was, because you don't become a billionaire by missing out on marketing opportunities. For he hopes to create a business, ferrying punters to the edge of the atmosphere and back for what will no doubt be a substantial bus fare.
So what are we to make of it all?
Well, the first and healthiest reaction is suspicion, for several excellent reasons, one being that Branson is rich, and another that despite being 70 he wears his hair in a mane and has blindingly white teeth.
He also owns an island. The rich love islands because an island is like a planet, complete unto itself, and you can be lord of all there is, the sovereign monarch of a world. So suspicion seems justified.
Then there's the fact that Jeff Bezos, billionaire owner of Amazon.com, is planning to mount a very similar mission for a very similar purpose in just a few days' time. How can one not suspect that here we have a brace of cocky schoolboys seeing who can pee highest?
What, apart from the obvious business of making money, is the point of it? It's doing nothing that wasn't done in the 1950s. It is not advancing science or knowledge of the cosmos. The news reports came in tones of admiration, but what am I supposed to admire?
And then there are the punters who would want to buy seats on this day trip to the edge of nothing, characters who occupy the lower slopes of Plutocracy Mountain but who can still afford to drop a few hundred thousand for four minutes of weightlessness and a pretty view of the earth. Why would they want to?
It seems to me that they are little different from the mob of executives and other lowlifes who throng to Nepal every summer, hire a local to carry their gear, and then trudge up the well-carved, signposted, roped and littered pathway to the summit of Everest for a photo op and boasting rights. Like buying an island or going to the edge of space, it's a way of asserting ownership. It's a giant game of King of the Castle.
Twenty years ago Philippe Gigantes, who was dying of cancer, wrote a book that summarised what he had learned over the course of his long and varied life. He called the book Power and Greed - A Short History of the World. The title is self-explanatory.
Gigantes demonstrated that all of human history had been shaped by the lust for power and the greed for riches. That is all. Nothing else matters. And however often the truth is pointed out, it doesn't change and will never change.
I met Branson once. I doubt he'll remember. It was in Covent Garden, central London, around the turn of the century. I was on holiday and on my way to meet a friend in a pub for lunch when a big posh black car pulled up at the kerb beside me and Branson got out, along with a flunkey or two.
"Hello Richard," I said, because why not?
The great man turned towards me and flashed those famous teeth then moved on to where some television cameras were waiting. Young women in communications fawned over him. Producers stooped slightly when they addressed him. Everything was focussed on him.
I stayed to watch him do a brief piece to camera, a promotional something for one of his many businesses. He knew what he was doing. He ran his fingers through his mane, switched on the smile, exuded his trademark confidence and optimism, then was ushered back to the idling car and swept on to wherever he was required next in his bid to take over the world.
And, as I wandered on to the pub where my mate Duff and I would laugh over lazy lunchtime beer and sandwiches, I remember feeling a, very good indeed about things, and b, sorry for Richard Branson.