Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson said Elon Musk — his space-race counterpart — visited him at 3 a.m. the morning of Branson’s spaceflight to wish him luck.
Branson, who boasts a net worth of about $7.7 billion, tweeted a picture of the two billionaire space tycoons together on Sunday, the morning of the flight.
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Many observers were quick to point out that Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, as well as the world’s second richest man, was not wearing shoes in the photo.
Speaking at a press conference after the successful flight, Branson gave a little more context to the snap.
"It was great this morning to find Elon Musk in my kitchen at three o’clock, to come to wish us the best," Branson said.
"I’d already been to bed and he still hadn’t gone to bed," he added. "He’s an all-nighter and our time clocks are completely different. But so nice of him to come all this way to wish us well."
Branson and Musk are rivals in the so-called billionaire space race, even though their companies have somewhat different goals.
Branson’s Virgin Galactic offers a pricey space tourism experience that brings customers to the edge of space for striking views and a few minutes in zero gravity before bringing them back down to earth.
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Musk’s SpaceX develops much larger rockets that hope to one day bring humans and cargo to Mars. Musk has yet to say when he might ride on one of SpaceX’s rockets.