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Jeff Bezos congratulates Elon Musk on SpaceX's private Inspiration4 launch

Jeff Bezos at the Blue Origin launch pad with a New Shepard rocket in the background.
Jeff Bezos at the Blue Origin launch pad with a New Shepard rocket in the background. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

It was congratulations all around the billionaires' table today as Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, took to Twitter to laud his rival rocket mogul Elon Musk of SpaceX on the historic launch of an all-civilian crew into orbit Wednesday night. 

"Congratulations to Elon Musk and the team on their successful Inspiration4 launch last night," Bezos wrote on Twitter today (Sept. 16). "Another step towards a future where space is accessible to all of us."

Musk wrote back with a simple "Thank you."

Live updates: SpaceX's Inspiration4 private all-civilian orbital mission
Video: Watch SpaceX launch the Inspiration4 civilian space mission

Bezos' well-wishes for SpaceX came on the heels of a successful nighttime launch of Inspiration4, a private mission financed by another billionaire: Shift4 tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman. Isaacman is flying himself and three ordinary people in space and raise $200 million to help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital fight childhood cancer and other diseases. 

The three-day Inspiration4 mission launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon space capsule Wednesday night from Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will return to Earth on Saturday (Sept. 18) with a splashdown off Florida, either near the Atlantic coast or in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Riding with Isaacman, who serves as commander, are: pilot and geoscientist Sian Proctor; medical officer and St. Jude physician's assistant Hayley Arceneaux; and mission specialist and data engineer Chris Sembroski. 

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Inspiration4 lifted off successfully on Sept. 15.

Inspiration4 lifted off successfully on Sept. 15. (Image credit: Inspiration4/John Kraus)
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The four Inspiration4 astronauts wave and give thumb's up signs to the camera inside SpaceX's Crew Dragon Resilience as they await launch atop NASA's Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 15, 2021. They are (from left): Chris Sembroski, Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux.

The four Inspiration4 astronauts wave and give thumb's up signs to the camera inside SpaceX's Crew Dragon Resilience as they await launch atop NASA's Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 15, 2021. They are (from left): Chris Sembroski, Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux. (Image credit: SpaceX)
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The four Inspiration4 crewmembers shortly before boarding their Crew Dragon capsule, a vehicle named Resilience.

The four Inspiration4 crewmembers shortly before boarding their Crew Dragon capsule, a vehicle named Resilience. (Image credit: Inspiration4/John Kraus)
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The four Inspiration4 crewmembers in their SpaceX flight suits on launch day. They are (from left): Chris Sembroski, Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux. (Image credit: John Kraus/Inspiration4)

Inspiration4 is a first-of-its-kind mission, one in which no one on board is a professional astronaut. It is the first fully private mission to Earth orbit and SpaceX's first free-flying orbital crewed mission. The company has flown three other Crew Dragon missions since May 2020, all for NASA, to ferry professional astronauts to the International Space Station. Inspiration4 is a mission to orbit the Earth in the Crew Dragon only, at an altitude of up to 364 miles (585 kilometers), offering sweeping views of our planet from space to its crew via a novel glass dome cupola on the spacecraft. 

Bezos' congratulations to Musk come amid some acrimony between their rival space companies. Blue Origin is currently suing NASA over the space agency's recent selection of Musk's SpaceX to build a moon lander for astronauts. 

Blue Origin also recently launched Bezos and three others on a suborbital spaceflight on July 20 from the company's West Texas launch site. That flight came nine days after the suborbital launch of yet another billionaire — Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic — on his company's SpaceShipTwo Unity space plane in New Mexico.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.