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Jeff Bezos' congratulatory rocket landing tweet to SpaceX is actual, clinical shade

Jeff Bezos' congratulatory rocket landing tweet to SpaceX is actual, clinical shade


"Welcome to the club!"

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The biggest news of the evening is that Elon Musk's SpaceX has successfully landed the Falcon 9 rocket after launching its payload into orbit. It's a really big deal for a lot of reasons: SpaceX has had multiple failed attempts before, the ability to reuse rockets could radically reduce the cost of launching people and supplies into space, and most importantly the payload it delivered went all the way into space, even if the first stage itself didn't.

But it isn't the first vertical rocket landing we've seen in the past 30 days. That honor belongs to Blue Origins, Jeff Bezos' rocket company. Bezos' rocket didn't go quite as high as the Falcon 9 and so arguably wasn't as great of a technical achievement, but even so it did beat SpaceX to the punch. And so Bezos' congratulatory tweet about the landing, his fifth-ever tweet, could have been a moment to express humility in the face of Musk's achievement, pride in our collective progress towards more regular space flight, and gravitas from a captain of industry.

Except it was none of those moments:

That is the kind of praise that comes with a knife. Bezos went out of his way to specify that it was the suborbital booster and that SpaceX is joining a club to which Blue Origins was previously the only member. It is, as my colleague Casey Newton has explained to me, clinical shade, "in that it’s phrased as a compliment."

The next couple years of watching these two CEOs duke it out is going to be, pardon the phrase, a blast.

Blue Origin shouldn't be compared to SpaceX Not all vertical launches are alike

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