Mr Bezos, who is the founder of Blue Origin, announced he would be aboard New Shepard when it launches its first human spaceflight on July 20. It comes following a back and forth with Mr Musk, who has steamed ahead with SpaceX‘s progress. In the past, Mr Bezos has downplayed Mr Musk’s goal of colonising Mars, stating: “My friends who want to move to Mars? I say, do me a favour – go live on the top of Mount Everest for a year first.”
That same year, Mr Musk called Mr Bezos a “copycat” after Amazon announced its plan to launch Internet-beaming satellites and a year later he lobbed the same insult after Amazon acquired self-driving-taxi company Zoox.
In a New York Times interview last July, Mr Musk, 49, implied Blue Origin was not innovative enough and that Mr Bezos, 56, was too old to compete.
He said: “The rate of progress is too slow and the amount of years he has left is not enough, but I’m still glad he’s doing what he’s doing with Blue Origin.”
And, incredibly, the origin of their “different approaches” has been documented on Twitter, by tech writer Trung Phan.
He detailed: “In 2004, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos met for a meal to discuss space.
“It was one of their few in-person interactions.
“That conversation perfectly captures the different approaches they’ve taken to space (and why SpaceX has pulled ahead of Blue Origin).”
“While SpaceX had yet to launch a rocket into space, it was testing engines in Texas and Bezos wanted to pick Musk’s brains. It was a very technical chat.
“Musk was unimpressed with Bezos’ progress.”
Incredibly, Mr Musk’s thoughts from the chat were detailed to author Christian Davenport’s for his book ‘The Space Barons’.
He said: “We talked about rocket architectures. It was very clear technically he was barking up the wrong tree, and I tried to give the best advice I could.
“Some of the engine architectures they were peering were the wrong evolutionary path.”
Mr Musk said he told Mr Bezos that he had tried some of his ideas already.
He added: Dude, we tried that and it turned out to be really dumb, so I’m telling you don’t do the dumb things we did.
“I actually did my best to give good advice, which he largely ignored.”
Commenting on the quotes, Mr Phan said: “If Bezos was wrong, he wanted to find out on his own.
“Now, Bezos will fly to space on July 20 with his brother and two other passengers.
“Last week, he donated $200million to the Smithsonian Institute to promote science and space research.
“While Bezos ignored Musk’s advice in 2004, these moves are right out of Musk’s PR playbook.”
Meanwhile, Mr Musk has reserved a seat to fly with Virgin Galactic, according to the company’s founder, Sir Richard Branson.
It comes after Sir Richard made a trip to suborbital space on July 11, 2021.
It marked the first fully crewed flight for Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo design, which was a reusable, winged spacecraft designed to carry eight people, including two pilots.
Mr Musk witnessed and supported Sir Richard’s flight from Virgin Galactic’s commercial hub, Spaceport America, in New Mexico.