Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk are the three billionaire entrepreneurs leading the 21st century privately-funded space race.
While Elon Musk’s SpaceX focuses on launching satellites and transporting humans to Mars, Branson doesn’t necessarily see him as a direct competitor. “I suppose I see [Musk] as a younger version of myself,” he says.
As for Bezos? Branson plans to beat him in the tourism space race.
Branson is behind Virgin Galactic -- a private company t hat’s already signing up passengers to pay $250,000 per ticket to experience a few minutes of weightlessness in outer space. In September, the company successfully carried out its first test flight since a fatal accident in 2014, which killed one pilot and seriously injured another . Bezos’s Blue Origin spaceflight company has similar goals for orbital trips, but his company offers a ride in a capsule rather than Virgin Galactic’s business jet-style vehicle. After four successful test flights, Blue Origin is on track to take tourists to space by 2018.
In a recent interview with Fortune, Branson said he welcomes the competition because it will give customers more options while also driving ticket prices down.
“The public will have to decide which vehicle they’d rather go to space in,” Branson said of Virgin Galactic and its competitor, Blue Origin. “Both of us will be striving to be better than the other, and we’ll see who pulls that off.”
For more on what Branson had to say about Bezos and Musk, watch the video interview above.