Space race cools as Jeff Bezos congratulates Elon Musk on successful SpaceX launch

Jeff Bezos has congratulated his billionaire space race rival and fellow billionaire Elon Musk on yesterday’s SpaceX launch, which saw the first all-civilian crew fly 360 miles above the Earth.

Bezos tweeted a rare praise for SpaceX’s successful launch, his first since February 2020.

“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.”

Elon Musk responded with a short, curt “Thank you”

This exchange was unexpected to many who followed the so-called space race among the billionaires. Musk and Bezos were tussling to create the first commercially space tourism company with SpaceX, Blue Origin and SpaceX respectively.

(FILES) This file handout photo taken on April 24, 2015 obtained courtesy of Blue Origin shows Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard's West Texas launch facility before the rocket's maiden voyage. - Jeff Bezos sets his sights on a new frontier in space in the coming days after building a gargantuan business empire which has in many ways conquered the Earth. (Photo by - / BLUE ORIGIN / AFP) / == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE / MANDATORY CREDIT: "AFP PHOTO / BLUE ORIGIN" / NO MARKETING / NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS / DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS == (Photo by -/BLUE ORIGIN/AFP via Getty Images)
Jeff Bezos felicitated Elon Musk for the Inspiration4 launch. Was this a confession of defeat?

Blue Origin is currently engaged suing NASA for granting a $2.39 billion moon lander contract to Musk’s SpaceX company.

January 19, 2020 - Kennedy Space Center, Florida, United States - SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks at a press conference following the successful In-Flight Abort Test of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule on January 19, 2020 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
SpaceX Conducts In-Flight Abort Test In Florida
Elon Musk has previously mocked Jeff Bezos for suing NASA over a SpaceX contract

Musk mocked Bezos for the legal case in a tweet, saying the former Amazon CEO “retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX…”

This week’s SpaceX launch saw four civilians travel in a pilotless shuttle far out into Earth’s orbit without any professional astronauts onboard. They are currently located 360 miles above Earth’s surface, which means Musk’s three-day mission has covered more ground than the International Space Station (ISS) and the Hubble Telescope.

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 15: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon lift-off from launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for the first completely private mission to fly into orbit on September 15, 2021 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX is flying four private citizens into space on a three-day mission. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Wednesday’s SpaceX launch saw four civilians blast off on a three-day mission in the first space venture of its kind

Meanwhile, Bezos’ Blue Origins launch in July didn’t even technically make it to space. It traveled to the edge Earth’s stratosphere, about 66miles above the ground, for only four minutes. This was also not the first private civilian spaceflight. Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson won the race on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity rocket plane. Musk mocked Bezos’s’suborbital’ travel at the time.

Twitter users quickly pointed out the irony in the billionaire couple’s warmer exchange. “Look at you guys being all friendly,” wrote MrBeastIt is available at: “See – you don’t have to put down your competition,” said David Gokhshtein. “We can all work together to achieve great things.”

(FILES) In this file photo Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos receives the 2019 International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Excellence in Industry Award during the the 70th International Astronautical Congress at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on October 22, 2019. - Wally Funk, a 82-year-old woman pilot, will join Jeff Bezos in traveling to space this month on the first crewed spaceflight for the billionaire's company Blue Origin, the firm announced on July 1, 2021. Funk will become the oldest person ever to fly to space when she takes part in the July 20 journey aboard the New Shepard launch vehicle along with Bezos, his brother Mark and the unnamed winner of an auction for another seat on the aircraft. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Space travel has been a lifelong ambition for Jeff Bezos, who says he wants to move all manufacturing off-world

Others were more critical. “Jeff after using your time and resources these last several months to sue NASA and impede SpaceX’s progress this comes off as disingenuous,” wrote itsALLrisky. “Wishing you would reconsider your lobbyist and lawsuit-based approach to space exploration so we can help SpaceX push humanity forward”.

Although Bezos may have complimented Musk for making space travel “accessible”, it doesn’t appear that the cost of a ticket will drop anytime soon. In June, a seat on Blue Origins’ New Shepard sold for $28 million. SpaceX’s Dragon Shuttle seats cost $55million. Virgin Galactic is a great bargain if you are looking to travel to near space for as low as $250,000.

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