The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour as it approached the International Space Station after launching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 24, 2021 Photo: NASA/AFP
tech

Egos clash in Bezos-Musk space race

34 Comments
By Ali BEKHTAOUI

Even the Milky Way seems too small to keep the egos of tech billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk from colliding as they vie to conquer space.

Musk aimed low with a recent tweet saying "can't get it up (to orbit)" in response to a post about Bezos-founded space company Blue Origin protesting NASA's choice of Musk's SpaceX team to build a module that will land the next U.S. astronauts on the moon.

"This is more than just a battle for space," said Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives. "There is some ego at play as well; this has become even more personal."

The tech entrepreneurs have each channeled some of their vast fortunes into private space exploration companies since early this century.

Bezos, 57, is founder of Blue Origin as well as of e-commerce colossus Amazon. Forbes ranks him the richest person on this planet, worth some $202 billion.

Musk, the colorful 49-year-old founder of Tesla and SpaceX as well as other companies, including one working to mesh human brains with computers, is in third place with a worth of $173 billion, according to the ranking.

Dreams of private companies taking to the stars -- instead of leaving such wonders to governments -- have developed into projects to deploy networks of satellites providing wireless internet service and for space tourism.

While SpaceX and Blue Origin have the benefit of founders with ample financial resources, they also compete for contracts with US military or space agencies.

Musk has a clear lead over Bezos.

SpaceX has deployed hundreds of satellites into orbit, while a Kuiper satellite network remains Earth-bound despite Bezos pledging $10 billion in backing.

Musk even formed an alliance with Microsoft, which is Amazon's biggest rival in the cloud computing market, to use its Azure platform to provide satellite-powered internet service, the companies announced late last year.

Microsoft said it will also work with SpaceX on a government contract to build satellites as part of a defense system capable of detecting and tracking ballistic, cruise and hypersonic missiles.

Separately, the U.S. Department of Defense last year awarded a $10 billion "JEDI" cloud computing contract to Microsoft instead of Amazon.

Amazon has alleged it was shut out of the deal because of a vendetta against the company and Bezos by former US president Donald Trump.

NASA has developed confidence in SpaceX, which has been trusted to shuttle supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station, according to Foundation for Strategic Research space specialist Xavier Pasco.

Blue Origin, in contrast, hasn't made that "important step," Pasco noted.

Bezos has been left to challenge SpaceX in court here on planet Earth.

He announced early this year that he is stepping down as chief executive of Amazon and planned to spend more time on other projects including Blue Origin.

Bezos has cited the futuristic vision of late physicist and space advocate Gerard O'Neill, but has mocked Musk's talk of colonizing Mars.

Bezos has made it clear he thinks the red planet is not a spot for a home.

"Who wants to move to Mars?" Bezos said at a conference in 2019. "Do me a favor, go live on the top of Mount Everest for a year first, and see if you like it -- because it’s a garden paradise compared to Mars."

The rivalry between Bezos and Musk comes with out-of-this-world financial stakes.

Analyst Ives predicted that the "monetization" of space would launch in earnest soon, with trillions of dollars to be made.

"Bezos and Musk know that the winner of the space battle will be crowned within the next one or two years," Ives said.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

34 Comments
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Oversight of both Musk’s and Bezoz’s interests and their individual projects is necessary. Credit to @itsonlyrocknroll 5/9 9:11pm for the insights about these billionaires egos. (paraphrased:

- “I think it is essential that private investment must be a joint venture [along with governments], allowing space exploration to flourish and develop. Celebrity, billionaire entrepreneurs, with an insatiable need to achieve personal ambition can affect lives [and] have to be challenged. [They] must be subject to oversight.” -

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Analysts predicted that "monetization" of space with trillions of dollars to be made. Equally predictable,

- “this has also become “personal."

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

UFC with no black eyes.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Snowymountainhell, surely the thought must cross the minds of Bezos Musk, if they both pooled their considerable resources and found the humility to work together, then the risk would be shared and perhaps if successful lead to other more philanthropic joint ventures.

Both need their heads banged together.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I saw a lecture by Gerard K. O’Neill in 1978. His ideas seemed well thought out and doable. I’ve been a fan ever since.

Bezos should focus on that instead of trying to compete head to head with SpaceX in LEO satellite internet.

I’m waiting for Bigelow inflatable modules to start being deployed in a serious way. Perhaps waiting for bigger rockets for larger structures.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Who wants to move to Mars?" Bezos said at a conference in 2019. "Do me a favor, go live on the top of Mount Everest for a year first, and see if you like it -- because it’s a garden paradise compared to Mars."

I really dislike both of these guys, but on this issue Bezos I think is right. Musk’s talk of colonizing Mars is bonkers when you actually look at the details of what that would be like for anyone trying it.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Obv”iously, @itsonlyrocknroll 8:40a, “humility” is no longer a shared trait for these two. It’s a ‘alien’ concept to both Musk and the Talosian, Bezoz. Unfortunately, we will continue to be Cage’d by ‘The Menagerie’ of their enlarged heads and egos until they can evolve.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

How can one man have so much wealth in a time of austerity.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The comparison BS. One guy actually thinks stuff up and creates it, the other guy just got rich importing cheap crap from China to your door step.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Where’s the story about how many people Bezos and the US post office has put out of business cuz of their favored shipping rates and cheap copies of inventions..

9 ( +10 / -1 )

There are people dying of hunger on this planet, and silly billionaires squabble over space toys.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I want Richard Branson to get involved in the slap fest.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Bezos is worth the same as New Zealands GDP! That just mad!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Exploitative tech entrepreneurs should be kept out of anything of national or global importance. In tech, what often seems like a service to socially if almost always an exploitative play to screw they guy at the end of the supply chain or destroy a lot of good jobs.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This seems a bit like the War of the Currents between Tesla and Edison. Tesla vs Amazon.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sickening to see the over rich playing out their egos in space. Branson, another white male rich beyond any decent morality, wants to spend billions sending other excessively rich folk into space. Each launch causes excessive pollution and cost tens of millions, even billions. With such pressing issues on Earth, not least the climate emergency, these antics, particularly space tourism, has to stop. It’s a disgrace and uses up valuable resources than can be better used on this fragile planet we call home.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@AiWonder Well said!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Ai WonderToday 12:17 pm JST

Sickening to see the over rich playing out their egos in space. Branson, another white male rich beyond any decent morality, wants to spend billions sending other excessively rich folk into space.

What has their race got to do with it? If they were Chinese would that make it okay?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Ai WonderToday  12:17 pm JST

Sickening to see the over rich playing out their egos in space. Branson, another white male rich beyond any decent morality, wants to spend billions sending other excessively rich folk into space. Each launch causes excessive pollution and cost tens of millions, even billions. With such pressing issues on Earth, not least the climate emergency, these antics, particularly space tourism, has to stop. It’s a disgrace and uses up valuable resources than can be better used on this fragile planet we call home.

Then I look forward to seeing you come up with a solution of your own instead of playing the identity politics game.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"Who wants to move to Mars?" Bezos said at a conference in 2019. "Do me a favor, go live on the top of Mount Everest for a year first, and see if you like it -- because it’s a garden paradise compared to Mars."

American astrophysicists will develop technology that alter the trajectory of Mars to bring it within habitable climate and temperature. A decade later, the Chinese with borrowed technology begin to reign in Venus and apply their own invention of de layering atmospheric gas. The Japanese will claim that the success of these scientists and their 99% perspiration were inspired by a sushi restaurant conveyor belt seen on a visit to Japan and how that changed the scientists’ lives.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Musk’s talk of colonizing Mars is bonkers when you actually look at the details of what that would be like for anyone trying it.

I agree colonize the moon first, once youve got hat mastered move on to mars

1 ( +3 / -2 )

colonize the moon first, once youve got hat mastered move on to mars.

Why is colonizing the Moon or Mars necessary? Can’t we leave anything alone?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why is colonizing the Moon or Mars necessary? Can’t we leave anything alone?

Because colonization of other planets could solve a lot of societal problems and potentially end war. This planet is no longer big enough to contain man or his ambition. Either we branch out to other world's or we kill ourselves on this one.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We shouldn’t colonize anywhere until we can take care of ourself and our own planet. Otherwise we would be like a virus spreading into space.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a spoiled kids fight..

"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” ..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Two rich guys acting like to toddlers in a food fight!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why is colonizing the Moon or Mars necessary? Can’t we leave anything alone?

If the human race is to survive it must become a multi planet species. Regardless of what man does or does not do on Earth, at some point in the distant future as the Sun continues to fuse it's supply of hydrogen into helium, the Sun will heat up to the point water will evaporate from Earth and Earth will become uninhabitable. When the last of the Sun's hydrogen is consumed it will balloon into a Red Giant with a diameter greater than the current orbit of Earth around the Sun. The inner planets will be incinerated. Earth might even be sucked into the Sun by its gravity. Mankind must therefore master interplanetary travel and develop the ability to colonize other planets. Man may even develop the means to bio-engineer suitable rocky planets in the sweet spot from their own star that allows temps compatible with liquid water into planets with a breathable atmosphere along with Earthly plant and animal life. That is the only sure future mankind has as Earth ultimately is doomed to destruction.

A base on the Moon, or at one of the Lagrange points in the Moon's orbit around the Earth offer the ideal place from which to launch interstellar exploration as such launches will not have to overcome Earth's gravity and atmosphere as they would launching from Earth. Not having to survive a terrestrial launch allows lighter structures and less fuel is consumed leaving the launch site.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

American astrophysicists will develop technology that alter the trajectory of Mars to bring it within habitable climate and temperature. 

That is not the problem Mars suffers from. Earth has tremendously strong magnetic fields that protect its atmosphere from being stripped away by the Sun. So does Venus. Earth and Venus have swirling liquid iron mantels. The convective movement of that liquid iron inside those two planets is what creates the magnetic fields that protect their atmospheres. Mars no longer has a liquid iron mantel. It solidified billions of years ago and when it did, Mars lost the magnetic fields that made its atmosphere possible. Re-melting Mars' mantel to create the necessary magnetic fields would be necessary for any kind of atmosphere to survive on Mars. Good luck with that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is all about wanting to be the first trillionaire. Whoever can get an asteroid of rare earth metals, etc. and bring it back to Earth first will win. These guys should be banned from space, they are not going to help anyone but themselves, and space belongs to every human on the planet, regardless of wealth or citizenship.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Egos Have Landed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Whoever can get an asteroid of rare earth metals, etc. and bring it back to Earth first will win

Seriously? Those very same metals are far from rare. They are abundant in the deserts of Australia and the US. The Chinese just undercut everyone else's price and captured the market but it is far cheaper to mine the stuff in the US than to try to bring an asteroid down to Earth without causing a cataclysm. Egos aside I think both of these fellows are smart enough to know that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@desert

Why is colonizing the Moon or Mars necessary? Can’t we leave anything alone?

If the human race is to survive it must become a multi planet species. Regardless of what man does or does not do on Earth, at some point in the distant future as the Sun continues to fuse it's supply of hydrogen into helium, the Sun will heat up to the point water will evaporate from Earth and Earth will become uninhabitable. When the last of the Sun's hydrogen is consumed it will balloon into a Red Giant with a diameter greater than the current orbit of Earth around the Sun. The inner planets will be incinerated. Earth might even be sucked into the Sun by its gravity. Mankind must therefore master interplanetary travel and develop the ability to colonize other planets. Man may even develop the means to bio-engineer suitable rocky planets in the sweet spot from their own star that allows temps compatible with liquid water into planets with a breathable atmosphere along with Earthly plant and animal life. That is the only sure future mankind has as Earth ultimately is doomed to destruction.

A base on the Moon, or at one of the Lagrange points in the Moon's orbit around the Earth offer the ideal place from which to launch interstellar exploration as such launches will not have to overcome Earth's gravity and atmosphere as they would launching from Earth. Not having to survive a terrestrial launch allows lighter structures and less fuel is consumed leaving the launch site.”

or we could just bow out gracefully.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

or we could just bow out gracefully.

It won't be a graceful ending for anything alive on the Earth when the last water is gone. And really, do YOU want to be the very last human left? Mankind will find ways to survive. I have no doubt about that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

if they both pooled their considerable resources and found the humility to work together, then the risk would be shared and perhaps if successful lead to other more philanthropic joint ventures.

Both need their heads banged together.

Nations are working together to explore and colonize space but it should never be a playground for the spoiled filthy rich kids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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