back to article Bezos v Branson: Battle of the wannabe Space Barons as Virgin Galactic cleared by FAA to start flying customers

A pair of rich white men look set to duke it out at the edge of space after Virgin Galactic was given the green light by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly customers to space. illustration: Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson in a spaceship The tweak to the existing commercial space transportation licence [PDF], …

  1. Flywheel Silver badge

    But who is Bezos' mystery bidder #107

    Not Branson then?

  2. xyz Silver badge


    Jean Luc and chewbacca.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge


      As this is in the good old USA, someone will die or get severely hurt (probably through their own idiotic actions), sue them and put them out of business.

      1. JDPower666

        Re: Prediction

        Damn hard to choose which one I'd rather that happened to!

  3. Ken G

    Bezos gets all the credit

    But we should remember the hundreds of minimum wage workers who haven't had a toilet break since the start of shift carrying out his pre-flight safety inspection.

    1. TimMaher Silver badge

      Toilet break

      One of them should leave a massive dump in the on-board bog.

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: Toilet break

        Either that or chuck an Amazon Prime parcel in through the window just before lift-off. Containing a days-old dead fish, or something equally pungent.

        1. FozzyBear

          Re: Toilet break

          Nothing like a couple of week old prawns in the heating vent to make the trip memorable

  4. idiot taxpayer here again

    A pair of rich white men...

    Wow, what a phrase. The writer has managed to get envy, racism and sexism in one phrase.

    Congratulations… /s

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: A pair of rich white men...

      Just think. Between all these awful old men they could have built several factories to manufacture a coronavirus vaccine that could have been distributed throughout the developing nations.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: A pair of rich white men...

        While I agree with the sentiment, you clearly have no idea what is involved or how long it takes to build and operate a human pharmaceutical grade manufacturing plant. If they'd started immediately after the first announcements from Wuhan, it'd still not be up and operating yet.

  5. Swordfish1

    Lol - my bet is Elon- the other are just scratching the Karman line, were Elon, is producing systems, which will, in due course land craft on the moon and mars. Bezos, is all talk, but we can't see any practicable action, beyond that line, whereas at Boca Chica, we can see, in real time the construction, and building of Star City, and the associated rockets, and see, the testing, even if it fails...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Do you, by any chance, live at Boca Chica ?

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        More likely r/spacex

    2. O RLY

      Agreed. I could totally see Musk announce right as he boards for his departure that he's defeated both his billionaire rivals. I could see that happening tomorrow or next week. I would be unsurprised by either. I would also not be surprised that he waits and just goes to Mars.

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

        I can imagine him going for a surreptitious launch a few seconds before Bezos/Branson. And actually going to orbit.

        Of course he won't have FAA permission for it (that'd give the game away), but he's not shy of sticking 2 fingers up to the authorities. It might be on the schedule as another test flight I guess.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          That's the sort of stunt that would land him and a lot of people involved in the "doing jailtime" sorts of hot water. I REALLY doubt he'd go for a launch without FAA approval. (And it's not just FAA, there's range safety, launch equipment operations, etc. Unless he's got some underground launch silos hidden somewhere, it'd be very hard to prep a Falcon 9 for launch without anybody noticing or having a say on whether they can light the blue touch paper.

          1. O RLY

            Yeah, he'd learn quickly the FAA has a lot more teeth to its enforcement capabilities than does the SEC...

    3. Dabooka Silver badge

      That was hard to read


      Really hard to read.

  6. bombastic bob Silver badge

    intercontinental flights

    I'm sorta waiting for supersonic suborbital flights between NYC and London, LA and Tokyo, or for that matter, NYC and LA

    (avoid the boom - go outside the atmosphere)

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: intercontinental flights (Going Outside The Atmospehere)

      Just as long as it isn't called Spindrift.

      Icon - Closest thing to a giant checking his pockets for little people.

    2. Ken G

      Re: intercontinental flights

      The boom comes at the end of the flight. Or have you solved that one?

  7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Of the two,

    ...despite the unlikely progression of Bransons ride to bigger and better things, it does look a lot cooler than Bezos' rocket if all you are going to get for your money is a few minutes of microgravity and a nice view.

    1. David 164

      Re: Of the two,

      You say that but Branson is now working with Rolls Royce and Reaction Engines on producing a engine for his Mach 3 supersonic jet.

      It no guarantee but I could eventually this partnership being expanded to include the construction of a SSTO vehicle at some point, after Virgin Galactic has run it sub orbital service for a couple of years and is turning over a profit.

      I also think it only a matter of time before Virgin Galactic is merge back with Virgin orbit.

      Also someone other than me has got to be thinking Virgin Galactic and stratolaunch would be another good merger with such a aircraft capable of handling Virgin Orbit launches and possible multiple SpaceShipTwo-class suborbital rockets at once all with the same vehicle.

  8. Bongwater

    Horus vs The Lion

  9. Diez66

    The on board Log, in the on board bog.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real plan is that as there's a significant risk, just before launch Bezos and the crew will secretly be removed from the capsule and taken to a TV studio in the desert where the mission footage will be faked. But if it does then burn up on reentry that leaves a few problems that can't easily be explained away...

  11. Martin Silver badge

    If Jeff Bezos wants to go to space...

    ...then let him.

    Can't he stay there?

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