On December 17th, 2015 the newest installment of the Star Wars franchise, called The Force Awakens, hit theaters. In it’s first five days in theaters thefilm has grossed over $610 million giving it an earning potential much greater than the $2 billion that Avatar made. Aside from the astronomically successful opening weekend ticket sales it felt pretty good to see Harrison Ford bustling around the Millennium Falcon again. Let’s not forget the relief of hearing a light saber activate. Wonderous. But down on Earth there’s a whole different Star Wars happening and it pins Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin against Elon Musk and SpaceX.
Before we get into the grit of a real life Star Wars and If you didn’t purchase your ticket three months in advance and haven’t seen the movie yet this video is sure to get you hyped for it:
Well we don’t have Tie-Fighters and the mechanics of the Millennium Falcon haven’t quite been worked out but we’re working our way there and two tech-crazed billionaires are at the very forefront of it… and may have just begun their very own version of a real life Star Wars:
The CEO of SpaceX/Tesla and Chairman of Solar City, Elon Musk and The CEO of Amazon.com and Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos.
Jeff Bezos Just Doesn’t Get It, SpaceX Is Superior
It’s incredibly coincidental that Elon Musk and SpaceX were able to land their rocket just days after the opening of the newest and most anticipated Star Wars film ever. It was like a little nod to George Lucas and J.J. Abrams that real science has their back. Right?
Just weeks before the opening of the film Jeff Bezos and his space technology company achieved a rocket landing of much less complexity. Nonetheless it was a celebrated achievement, with some soft criticism from space technology giant Elon Musk:
That wasn’t all he had to say. After congratulating Jeff Bezos’ team Musk went on to clarify some of the specs of Bezos’ mission:
A little over a month ago Jeff Bezos’ group Blue Origin successfully landed a rocket after reaching suborbital altitudes after which Bezos’ team claimed they had successfully landed a rocket that had reached orbit. Truth be told that’s not so much the case. Although Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin achieved something very significant in the continued development of rocket technology, the team’s rocket reached roughly half of the altitude that SpaceX’s Falcon-9 achieved not to mention wasn’t carrying the eleven satellites that were launched into orbit from SpaceX’s Falcon-9 trip on December 21st.
After Elon Musk and SpaceX had begun celebrating their groundbreaking success in carrying a massive cargo load into orbit and landing their rocket safely back on land Jeff Bezos had this to say on Twitter:
Matt Burns, a writer for TechCrunch and rocket aficionado, wasquoted in a TechCrunch article saying that:
“comparing the two landings is like ‘comparing parallel parking a bike and a huge SUV.’”
And the reality is he’s right. Popular Mechanics writer John Wenz wrote ashort article illustrating the significant difference in challenges faced by each mission and said this:
“For suborbital flight, Bezos did a big thing. For orbital flight, SpaceX did an even bigger thing. In suborbital flight, Bezos may have beat SpaceX’s Grasshopper rocket to a full suborbital flight and return, but he isn’t ready to fly with the Falcon yet.”
SPOILER ALERT: if this were Star Wars it would be like comparing Darth Vader’s (immoral) achievements with Kylo Ren’s current list of accolades. It just isn’t in the same league. With that said Bezos could have been brushed the wrong the way during this most heated race for private sector space technology. Could Bezos be searching for the Dark Side? It’s possible but for now all we can do is watch as Musk and Bezos develop the technology that will one day make Star Wars a borderline reality. (I’m guessing that Jabba the Hutt won’t be popping up on any potentially habitable planets).
You can catch highlights of SpaceX’s historic December 21st landing HERE: