You’d think Elon Musk and Richard Branson would be feuding when they both have space tourism plans, but that’s not the case, they’re surprisingly friendly.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Virgin Galactic said Musk purchased a ticket aboard one of the company’s air-launched rockets. It’s unclear where the SpaceX founder is in the queue, but it’s safe to say his ride will be noticed.
The affection is mutual. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Branson called Musk a “friend” and hinted that he might “one day” fly on a SpaceX ship. He even went so far as to post a photo of himself and Musk together on Twitter.
Just don’t expect Jeff Bezos to be as warm and welcoming. Blue Origin was eager to trash-talk Virgin ahead of its first fully crewed spaceflight, claiming that Branson and his team were merely flirting with space.
While the company later wished Branson a “great flight,” we doubt Bezos and Branson will have heart-to-heart coffee chats anytime soon.
It’s not surprising that Richard Branson and Elon Musk are so close. Regardless of how well their personalities mesh, the two aren’t direct competitors.
Virgin Galactic is primarily aimed at space tourists who are satisfied with suborbital flights, whereas Virgin Orbit is focused on launching satellites for companies that cannot afford expensive conventional rockets.
Meanwhile, SpaceX has focused its tourism efforts on lunar flybys and typically transports more expensive payloads into space. This isn’t to say the two executives won’t start feuding if their businesses truly overlap just don’t expect the good vibes to last forever.
Big day ahead. Great to start the morning with a friend. Feeling good, feeling excited, feeling ready.
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 11, 2021