SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “Thank You” when Jeff Bezos, CEO of the rival space company, Blue Origin, congratulated Musk on the successful launch of the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission. So the two are friends, right? Well, not exactly.
According to Forbes, at the time this article was first published, Elon Musk happened to be the second richest man in the world with a total net worth of $195.7 billion — just behind Jeff Bezos, whose current net worth is $201.9 billion.
The rivalry between these two billionaires recently heated up after Bezos’ Blue Origin sued NASA for awarding the Artemis mission moon lander project to Musk’s SpaceX. That project was worth $2.89B in value alone. SpaceX won the contract because its concept design was simply better than all competing companies. But Bezos couldn’t accept defeat.
SpaceX responds to Amazon's request that the FCC dismiss the Starlink Gen2 amendment, calling it "a continuation of efforts by the Amazon family of companies to hinder competitors" and referencing Blue Origin's lawsuit against NASA:
— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) September 1, 2021
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 for Jeff Bezos now. Ouch. It turns out Musk was responding to an FCC filing that SpaceX had submitted to counter delay tactics used by Kuiper Systems LLC (“Amazon”) against the Starlink satellite constellation.
While Bezos was busy filing lawsuits, Musk’s SpaceX successfully sent four civilian astronauts to space aboard its Dragon spacecraft. The Inspiration4 mission also served as an awareness and fundraising campaign for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. In turn, Musk recently announced he’d be personally donating $50 million to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
And it’s not just beef Bezos has against SpaceX. Looking back, Bezos has been quietly moving in on Tesla’s turf too. Amazon acquired Zoox, a self-driving car company. And, Amazon invested in another autonomous car firm Aurora Innovation.
Bezos’ company also invested in electric vehicle maker Rivian. In the end, Musk isn’t flattered by all this imitation — Elon once tweeted that Bezos is a “copy cat” and that it’s “time to break up Amazon,” according to GeekWire.
Forget who has the bigger (ahem) rocket for a moment. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are two trailblazers who have so much in common. Both have deep interest in space exploration. And each of these visionaries has leveraged modern technology to transform the world.
True, the two don’t always see eye-to-eye. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see some civil discourse on Twitter — a rare thing on that social media platform. Perhaps these two mega-mavericks can evolve into friendly competitors moving forward. Let’s hope so.