SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said “Thank You” when Amazon founder and the CEO of the rival Blue Origin space company Jeff Bezos congratulated Musk on the successful launch of the Inspiration4 mission.
“Congratulations to Elon Musk and the SpaceX team on their successful Inspiration4 launch last night. Another step towards a future where space is accessible to all of us,” Bezos posted on Twitter.
The rivalry between these two ultra-billionaires rose after Bezos’ Blue Origin sued NASA for awarding the Artemis mission moon lander project to Musk’s SpaceX. This project was worth $2.89B in value alone. SpaceX simply won this contract because it’s concept design was better than all the competing companies. But Bezos couldn’t accept his defeat.
The friction between the two rose to new heights earlier this month when Elon Musk said that filing lawsuits against SpaceX is actually a full time job of Jeff Bezos now. Musk was responding to an FCC filing that SpaceX had submitted to counter the delaying tactics used by Kuiper Systems LLC (“Amazon”) against the Starlink satellite constellation.
Bezos was probably humbled by SpaceX’s commendable success with the Inspiration4 civilian human spaceflight mission yesterday.
SpaceX has sent 4 civilian astronauts in space aboard its Dragon spacecraft. The Inspiration4 Dragon crew will spend 3 days in space orbiting the planet Earth at a ~575 km altitude. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket performed a perfect liftoff, launching Dragon and its crew to space on 16th September, 2021.
Dragon and the @inspiration4x crew will orbit Earth for three days at an altitude of ~575 km, flying farther than any other human spaceflight since the Hubble missions.SpaceX / Twitter
Upon its return to Earth, the Inspiration4 Crew Dragon will splash down off of the coast of Florida. The Inspiration4 mission is also an awareness and fundraising campaign for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Rivalry of Musk vs. Bezos aside, space missions like the Inspiration4 must go on for the sake of humanity and making life multiplanetary. The progress of humanity should not be hindered by frivolous lawsuits.
On a side note, currently, Elon Musk is the 2nd richest man in the world with a total net worth of $195.7 billion — just behind Jeff Bezos who’s current net worth is $201.9 billion (Source: Forbes).