Veteran Silicon Valley observer Michael Malone, author of The Virtual Corporation and himself a dot-com millionaire, contends that the romance with rockets isn't an entirely new phase for these business giants, but rather a return to a childhood fascination with space and aviation. (Allen, both of whose parents were librarians, went through aerospace books like "the rest of us go through Kleenex," according to Vern Raburn, a business associate, and Bezos wrote a NASA-award-winning paper on zero gravity in high school.) "All their lives they've inhabited other planets and traveled the universe," says Malone. "Now they're thinking, 'Before I die I want to be James T. Kirk.'"