Jeff Bezos is hilarious.
Here’s his congratulatory tweet for Elon Musk, after Musk’s company SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket and landed the first stage back on Earth:
Congrats @SpaceX on landing Falcon's suborbital booster stage. Welcome to the club!
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) December 22, 2015
“Welcome to the club.” Well played.
What “the club” is, exactly, will be something Musk will find almost impossible to resist clarifying on his own Twitter account sometime very soon.
Just four weeks ago, Bezos’ Blue Origin first stage rocket, named New Shepard, flew to an altitude of 100km and made it back in one piece. At that point, SpaceX had tried to land a couple of sub-orbital rockets back on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, without success.
On New Shepard’s return to Earth, Bezos fired off this celebratory tweet:
Musk had congratulated Bezos on New Shepard’s success. But after the above tweet floated past him, he felt he had to remind Bezos that SpaceX actually already done this a few years ago with its series of “Grasshopper tests“.
So in Musk’s mind, he’s already a paid up member of “the club”.
Bezos’ company was testing New Shepard’s ability to take tourists into space, 100km up, so they could feel the effects of weightlessness and enjoy an unrivalled view of the curvature of the Earth.
It’s big business. You could expect Bezos to pocket about $US250,000 per passenger for a trip to space.
But Musk’s rocket is much, much bigger and more powerful, with the ability to send payloads into orbit around Earth, hence “orbital” rocket.
Currently, SpaceX is charging roughly $US50 million to companies like OrbComm to get their satellites into orbit.
Here’s an amazing image SpaceX tweeted out today of all three critical stages in one shot:
Long exposure of launch, re-entry, and landing burns pic.twitter.com/Vw1ZJAtvhy
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 22, 2015
Falcon 9’s second stage deployed 11 OrbComm satellites around the Earth. Successfully developing a reusable rocket should make that kind of payload a whole lot more affordable to carry into space.
And back in January, Musk officially asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to build a network of 4,000 satellites capable of beaming the Internet to the most remote regions of the Earth.
He’s also on-board with helping humans reach the surface of Mars. One of the problems with that is figuring out whether they can be brought back again.
Today, he took a huge step closer toward making those dreams plausible, and affordable. So no doubt Musk is too busy celebrating with SpaceX to bother replying to Bezos right now.
But we’re tipping he will.
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