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Everything you need to know about Elon Musk and the billionaire space race

Richard Branson and Elon Musk—friends, billionaires and new space race pioneers—spend Sunday morning together ahead of Branson's space flight. (Richard Branson/Twitter)

Elon Musk has a ticket to space. But it's not from his own aerospace venture.


The SpaceX CEO and second richest person in the world has purchased a ticket to space—which retails for $250,000— from fellow billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

Branson made headlines on Sunday, when he became the first person to ride into space aboard a rocket he helped fund, as reported by CNN. His company, Virgin Galactic, is competing with SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to become the first commercial spaceline. Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is slated to take a similar flight on July 20.

Musk's support extends beyond his ticket purchase. He joined Branson on the morning of the launch, appearing in a photo with bare feet and no hard feelings. "Elon's a friend and maybe I'll travel on one of his ships one day," Branson told London's The Sunday Times.

There is perhaps less collegiality between Branson and Bezos, with Blue Origin pointing out on Twitter that the Virgin Galactic spaceship did not reach the Karman line, 62 miles above sea level, which is the internationally recognized threshold for where space begins. Bezos did however wish Branson "best of luck" on Instagram, ahead of the Virgin Galactic mission.

Meanwhile, it may not be too long before Musk boards his own spaceship.

SpaceX regularly carries astronauts to and from the International Space Station for NASA and is in the process of building spaceships that can reach Mars. But the company's first private flight—which it has dubbed the world's first all-civilian mission—is scheduled to launch in September.

Although it is scheduled to take place months after those of Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, the SpaceX mission will be a more robust trip, circling the planet for three days rather than only spending a few minutes above the edge of Earth's atmosphere as with Branson and Bezos' flights, as reported by the Verge.

The three flights do have something else in common, however. Each will include a billionaire: Branson, Bezos and—in the case of the SpaceX mission—benefactor and Shift4 Payments founder Jared Isaacman. He will be joined by cancer survivor and physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux, geoscientist and communications specialist Dr. Sian Proctor, and Lockheed Martin employee and U.S. Air Force veteran Christopher Sembroski, who were chosen via an online competition.

The billionaire space race—in which Branson, Bezos and Musk compete for the nascent space tourism industry and acclaim—has drawn criticism from some, including former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who says its financial extravagance and environmental impact are inexcusable in a time of widening wealth inequality and worsening climate change.

But Musk is a vocal defender, tweeting on Monday that space inspires hope.

In addition to commercial space travel and its Starship rideshare-to-Mars program, SpaceX is also developing Starlink, a high-speed, low-latency satellite internet service enabled by a constellation of more than 1,700 low Earth satellites. With plans to open a factory in Austin, Starlink could help serve the world's most remote populations—and bring in revenue to help fund the company's other ventures.

Popular

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway