The multi-million dollar space rivalry may have erupted again.
The head of SpaceX, Elon Musk, made a playful and rude punch through Twitter yesterday (May 9) in Jeff Bezos, after the richest man in the world. unveiled the Blue Moon lunar lander being developed by its space flight company, Blue Origin.
"Oh, stop bothering, Jeff," Musk wrote in a post that linked to a New York Times story about Blue Moon, which Bezos said could carry both the cargo and the people to the lunar surface, with a first flight directed towards 2024..
The Times story featured a photo of a Blue Moon model that Bezos showed at an event in Washington, DC, yesterday. The "blue moon" is engraved in the spherical tank of liquid hydrogen propellant. But Musk was in charge of editing (in a very inexperienced way) that text, deleting "Luna" and writing "Bolas" instead.
Related: Blue origin: quiet plans for spacecraft.
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Oh, stop making fun of you, Jeff ? pic.twitter.com/wuWPENcSE1May 10, 2019
"The competition is good, the result is a better result for everyone," Musk wrote in another tweet, responding to a Twitter follower who asked him what he thought about Blue Moon. "But putting the word & # 39; Blue & # 39; in a ball is a questionable mark," he added later in the thread.
SpaceX has its own lunar ambitions. The Musk company is developing a huge rocket called Super Heavy and a spaceship called Starship to transport people to and from the moon, Mars and other destinations through the solar system. A Starship trial version called Starhopper has already made some short and tethered flights at the SpaceX facility in South Texas.
Musk and Bezos have beards exchanged before.
Both SpaceX and Blue Origin are developing reusable spacecraft and rockets to reduce the cost of space flight and help open the skies for exploration. Blue Origin managed to land one of its rockets first, achieving the milestone in November 2015 during a test flight of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle.
Musk congratulated Bezos through Twitter shortly after but also emphasized that the landing of an orbital rocket like the Falcon 9 from SpaceX is much harder to do. Bezos responded by pointing out in a press conference that month that the first stage of Falcon 9 does not really reach orbit.
SpaceX got a Falcon 9 enhancer for the first time in December 2015, and brought a first leg to Earth at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Bezos congratulated SpaceX with a tweet that seemed to have a bit of a mockery: "Congratulations to @SpaceX on Falcon's suborbital reinforcement stage, welcome to the club!"
This does not imply that there really is bad blood between the two billionaires. For example, Bezos tweeted good wishes to Musk in February 2018, shortly before the first test flight of SpaceX's huge Falcon Heavy rocket. (Musk replied with a simple "Thank you" and an emoji blowing a kiss.)
Both entrepreneurs have similar and very ambitious goals. Musk has said repeatedly that he founded SpaceX primarily to help colonize Mars, making humanity a multiplane species. And Bezos has emphasized that the ultimate goal of Blue Origin is to help millions of people live and work in space.
Mike Wall's book on the search for extraterrestrial life. "Out there"(Grand Central Publishing, 2018, illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.