‘Can’t wait to join the club’: Space billionaires Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk congratulate Richard Branson on his flight

Blue Origin and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has congratulated fellow billionaire and Virgin founder Richard Branson on his successful suborbital flight, despite Bezos’ company earlier questioning if it counts as a space trip.

“Congratulations on the flight,” Bezos wrote on Instagram to Branson and his crew following their successful flight to space and return to Earth on Sunday. 

Bezos added that he “can’t wait to join the club.”

Blue Origin, Bezos’ company working on sending people to space, reposted Bezos’ congratulations to Branson.

Branson made his way to suborbital space on the Virgin Galactic Unity 22 spaceplane from New Mexico, and he was accompanied by fellow passengers Sirisha Bandla, Colin Bennett, and Beth Moses.

Branson’s trip was seen by many as a slight victory over Bezos, who has made similar investments in technology and is set to make his own trip to space on July 20. 

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Virgin Galactic's passenger rocket plane VSS Unity, carrying billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson and his crew, descends after reaching the edge of space above Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, U.S., July 11, 2021. © Reuters / Joe Skipper
Virgin founder Richard Branson successfully lands after beating Jeff Bezos in billionaire space race

Despite the praise, Bezos’ Blue Origin claimed Branson’s flight does not actually count as going to space because it does not pass the Karman line, considered to be the boundary between Earth and space at 100 kilometers (or about 62 miles) above sea level. 

Asked directly last month on CNBC if he was “trying” to beat Bezos into space, Branson mockingly replied, “Jeff who?”

Branson also received congratulations on Sunday from fellow billionaire and space enthusiast Elon Musk, who had earlier wished Branson “godspeed” before his trip. 

Sunday’s test flight will potentially be the first of many, with Branson planning on Virgin Galactic taking passengers to space for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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