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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin vs Elon Musk’s SpaceX – Inside billionaires’ space race

3 min read

At around 1pm today – as long as weather conditions hold up – Jeff Bezos will travel to space to complete his personal 20-year journey to the outer reaches of the Earth.

The Amazon founder and world's richest man has had an eventful and not always happy personal life over the last few years.

But his Blue Origin passion project and NASA collaboration seems to have been a useful distraction from a messy divorce, Saudi blackmail and exit from his company.

The billionaire is fighting with Elon Musk and Richard Branson to grab a hold of the space-tourism industry, which the trio believe could hold the future to holidaying for the ultra wealthy

A ticket to Mars aboard Musk's SpaceX trip to Mars will set you back $500,000, while Bezos' Blue Origin will be charging $200,000 to $300,000 for a cruise trip around the outer edge of the Earth's atmosphere.

Musk has goaded Bezos for focusing on suborbital travel within the Earth's limits, whereas his SpaceX project has more audaciously aimed at travel to – and exploration of – Mars.

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But Musk's project is further from success and Bezos will try out his toys today.

The Amazon founder and ex-CEO's project is also supported by NASA and has been around 2 years longer than SpaceX, which is a collaboration with Google.

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Branson travelled to space last week aboard rocket plane VSS Unity, soaring 50 miles above New Mexico with 4 crew members.

The boomer Virgin founder has been inspired by space travel since his childhood, having been 18 during the first moon landing.

Bezos and Musk are also heavily inspired by science fiction, with the Tesla CEO listing Isaac Asimov's The Foundation series as his inspiration, while Bezos cites the space engineer memoir October Sky.

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SpaceX boasts the Falcon 9 vessel, which at just under 70m is taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Blue Origin's massive New Glenn ship is bigger than the Statue of Liberty, at more than 95m.

Yet Musk has promised his Starship carrier will take 100 people to space at a time, whereas Bezos's outer-atmosphere cruises appear to be more of a boutique experience for the mega-rich.

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Whether Musk's endeavours will have the egalitarian values he has promised to his 12m Twitter followers is still to be seen.

That's one department where he comfortably bests Bezos, who has just 235k.

Bezos, Musk and Branson each have slick social media and marketing operations touting their feats of exploration and childhood connections to space travel.

Whether they also each have the tech to make space tourism a reality is a different question.

But despite their resources they must pay close attention to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which says all countries are free to explore outer space with no nation or individuals able to stake a claim.

Today will be a small step in the galactic exploration war, but a giant leap in the billionaire trio's ongoing battle for space tourism supremacy.

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