SpaceX CEO Elon Musk apparently wasn't ready to let Amazon's Jeff Bezos bask too long in the glory Tuesday of a space achievement.
Bezos' rocket venture, Blue Origin, showed that it can send a spacecraft aloft, then have it land vertically back on earth -- a feat that SpaceX has been trying to achieve lately on a barge.
Blue Origin said its unmanned New Shepard capsule climbed to a height of nearly 333,000 feet, or about 62 miles on Monday, just above the internationally recognized boundary of space. The capsule landed under parachutes on the company's private range in West Texas.
Bezos took to Twitter on Tuesday to note the milestone. In what appears to be his first ever tweet, Bezos wrote, "The rarest of beasts - a used rocket. Controlled landing not easy, but done right." Then he linked to a video of the takeoff and landing.
But Twitter veteran Musk, who is CEO of Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, and electric-car maker Tesla Motors, couldn't hold back. First, he tweeted congratulations. But then added a few other tweets on the matter, including one that said, "Jeff maybe unaware SpaceX suborbital VTOL flight began 2013. Orbital water landing 2014. Orbital land landing next." VTOL stands for vertical takeoff and landing.
SpaceX so far has been unsuccessful in two attempts to land larger and more powerful Falcon 9 rocket boosters on an ocean platform. The company plans to try again on its next launch, perhaps next month.
Bezos said the Blue Origins booster flew through 119 mile-per-hour crosswinds at high altitude before firing its single BE-3 engine to slow its fall and make a controlled landing on legs less than five feet from the center of the launch pad.
"Full reuse is a game changer, and we can't wait to fuel up and fly again," he said.
Bezos is among wealthy space entrepreneurs including SpaceX CEO Elon Musk who are attempting to develop reusable rockets, believing reusability is the key to dramatically lowering the cost of human spaceflight.