Tesla, SpaceX CEO once again world’s richest man
Having leapfrogged Jeff Bezos to reclaim the title of world’s richest man, Elon Musk can’t help but rub it in and poke fun at his rival.
“I’m sending a giant statue of the digit ‘2’ to Jeffrey B., along with a silver medal,” Musk told Forbes via email.
In August 2020, Bezos became the first person worth $200 billion thanks to Amazon’s soaring stock price as the COVID-19 pandemic boosted e-commerce sales. But Tesla shares went up even faster — more than 700% — to push Musk past Bezos in January, and the two have traded the No. 1 spot several times since. Monday, Musk passed the $200 billion net worth mark for the first time. LVMH head Bernard Arnault has also eclipsed that number.
But it was Bezos whom Musk saved his jabs for, the latest in a series of salvos by the billionaire CEOs whose competition has slipped the surly bonds of Earth and reaches for the stars. Bezos’ Blue Origin is suing over a $2.9 billion federal contract that went to Musk’s SpaceX for a lunar lander for NASA use.
“Historically a staunch advocate for prioritizing safety, NASA inexplicably disregarded key flight safety requirements for only SpaceX, in order to select and make award to a SpaceX proposal that assessed as tremendously high risk and immensely complex, even before the waiver of safety requirements,” Blue Origin’s lawsuit claims.
Musk says it’s all a case of sour grapes. “You cannot sue your way to the moon, no matter how good your lawyers are,” he said Tuesday at CodeCon 2021 in Beverly Hills.
The two have been cordial as well, with Musk wishing Bezos and his crew good luck on their July space flight (which came just days after another billionaire rival, Richard Branson, went on his Virgin Galactic). Bezos returned the favor this month, calling SpaceX’s Inspiration4 all-civilian space flight “another step towards a future where space is accessible to all of us.”
There is undoubtedly some code of conduct that governs the relations between the richest men in the world, but we sure wouldn’t understand it. But it seems they do agree that their space race is good for humanity.
“I think we want to be a space-faring civilization out there among the stars,” Musk said at CodeCon. “All these things that we see in science fiction — movies and books — we want those to be like real one day, not always fiction. So, I think it’s good that people are spending their money advancing space technology.”