Elon Musk criticised rich rival, Jeff Bezos, for allegedly focusing on government lobbying rather than rocket development.
In recent years, the two have exchanged places as the world’s wealthiest people, leveraging their huge fortunes to support their private space enterprises.
Musk’s SpaceX won a lucrative Nasa contract earlier this year for its Starship craft for the Artemis mission, set to launch in 2024.
Bezos’s company, Blue Origin missed out on the funding, prompting them to file a 50-page protest with the Government Accountability Office saying Nasa moved the goalposts at the last minute.
The bidding procedure was termed as ‘flawed’ by Blue Origin, to which Musk responded, ‘Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol.’
On Wednesday evening, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk followed up with a tweet that said: ‘If lobbying and lawyers could get u to orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto rn.’
It’s the latest in a series of jabs between the billionaires in recent years, as each company competed to be the first to achieve key space goals.
In 2015, Bezos referred to Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft’s maiden successful launch and landing as ‘the rarest of beasts,’ to which Elon Musk replied, ‘Not quite ‘rarest’. SpaceX Grasshopped rocket did six suborbital flights three years ago and is still around.’ He also shared a mock-up image of Blue Origin’s lunar lander in 2019, renaming it Blue Balls from Blue Moon.
Last month, Bezos issued an open letter to Nasa, just days after a 10-minute journey to the edge of space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. He called for competition to be reintroduced for the Artemis mission.
He also volunteered to fund a significant portion of the costs for developing a lunar lander. ‘I am honoured to offer these contributions and am grateful to be in a financial position to be able to do so,’ he wrote.
Musk later replied indirectly, tweeting: ‘Just want to say thanks to those in government who fight hard for the right thing to happen, despite extreme pressure to do otherwise. Therein lies the core goodness of the American state.’