Elon Musk has paid $10,000 to book a seat on Richard Branson's space flight
Billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson took his maiden trip to suborbital space on Sunday, as Virgin Galactic's rocket ship Unity 22 took a historic leap from Spaceport America in New Mexico, USA.
Ahead of the 71-year-old's journey, Tesla Founder Elon Musk — Branson's "good friend" — paid him a visit, and engaged in a Twitter banter. "Will see you there to wish you the best," Musk tweeted at the start of the day.
Branson acknowledged saying, "Thanks for being so typically supportive and such a good friend, Elon. Great to be opening up space for all - safe travels and see you at Spaceport America!"
Interestingly, The Sunday Times reported that Musk, whose SpaceX competes with Branson's Virgin Galactic, has reserved a seat on the latter's flight at a price of $10,000 (£7,000).
Branson has even confirmed the purchase, and hinted at reciprocating the gesture in future. "Elon’s a friend, and maybe I’ll travel on one of his ships one day," he said.
Branson also shared a picture with Musk a few hours ahead of the flight. "Big day ahead. Great to start the morning with a friend. Feeling good, feeling excited, feeling ready," he tweeted.
Virgin Galactic's commercial space flight tickets are priced at $250,000 (£180,000) apiece, and the company has already generated $80 million in sales and deposits, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The flight, which will allows space tourists to enjoy four minutes of zero gravity, is supposed to take off in 2022, after two more tests.
On Sunday, Branson and his crew consisting of two pilots and three mission specialists, took an hour to reach the edge of space, where they experienced four minutes of weightlessness.
Calling it a "magical" experience, Branson said, "It's 17 years of painstaking work, the occasional horrible down – and large ups with it. And today was definitely the biggest up."
His trip comes less than 10 days of Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin flight to suborbital space.
Hours before Branson took flight, the competing space tech company posted a series of sly tweets, but later congratulated Virgin Galactic on the successful journey.
Space is now the new battleground of billionaires, with Bezos, Branson, and Musk outlining their vision of making space tourism a reality.