When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced plans to build a space company, it seemed like he was just playing with words, but now it is becoming obvious that he is serious. The Washington Post newspaper reported that the company is designing a spacecraft that can take people to the International Space Station and that it plans to start flying people in 2018.

Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, was founded in 2000, and it is rumored to be close to the first commercial launch of a rocket designed for space tourism. Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle has launched five times so far, without any incident, and the company is also reportedly working on a larger rocket, called New Glenn, that could be used to launch satellites. This technology is further along than Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, which crashed in October 2014, killing one of its pilots. (Virgin Galactic is Richard Branson’s space company.)

Richard Branson beat out billionaire Jeff Bezos for the space prize (Getty).

Yesterday, Richard Branson took to the skies and flew into space as an astronaut on his Virgin Galactic space plane.

But Branson’s biggest rival, former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, scoffed at the Virgin chief’s performance.

Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin, is preparing for a flight next week that will take the billionaire himself to space with three other passengers.

Blue Origin disagrees with Virgin Galactic’s definition of space. In his tweet, the company suggested that Branson didn’t reach high enough to reach what most people consider space.

She claims that her own spaceship, the New Shepard, crosses a clearly defined boundary between Earth and space called the Carman Line.

Yesterday, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic plane flew 53 miles above Earth – high enough to be classified as an astronaut by Nasa, but not high enough to cross the Carman line at 62 miles.

Virgin Galactic’s passenger plane VSS Unity, with billionaire Richard Branson on board and his crew, begins its ascent to the edge of space (Reuters).

New Shepard was designed from the start to fly over the Carman line, so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name, Blue Origin wrote in a tweet.

For 96% of the world’s population, space begins 100 km above the internationally recognized Carman line.

Only 4% of the world recognizes the lower limit of 80 km or 50 miles as the beginning of space. The New Shepard is flying over both borders. One of the many benefits of flying with Blue Origin.

And to make matters worse, Blue Origin said Virgin Galactic only had windows the size of an airplane.

The New Shepard was designed from the beginning to fly over the Kermaline, so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name. For 96% of the world’s population, space begins 100 km from the internationally recognized Kirman line pic.twitter.com/QRoufBIrUJ

– Blue Origin (@blueorigin) July 9, 2021

Meanwhile, Branson has already noted that the passenger experience for Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic will be nearly identical.

In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) on Wednesday, Branson pointed out that both Nasa and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration recognize the 50-mile limit as the beginning of space.

Moreover, the actual difference in feel will be almost negligible, said Branson, who explained that passengers on the Unity and the New Shepard will spend about the same amount of time in zero gravity.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, left, receives astronaut wings from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield after his space flight (Credit: AP)

After his successful flight yesterday, Branson said he appreciates the astronaut experience for future passengers.

I have dreamed of this moment since I was a child, but nothing could have prepared me for seeing the earth from space, said Sir Richard after his return to earth.

We are at the dawn of a new space age. As a founder of Virgin, I have had the honor of having the incredible experience of working with customers as part of this amazing team of experts and now astronauts. I look forward to sharing this experience with aspiring astronauts around the world.

MORE Sir Richard Branson successfully flew into space with Virgin Galactic

PLUS Elon Musk buys a ticket for one of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space flights.

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