The Truth About Elon Musk And Richard Branson's Relationship

Even though Elon Musk might be in the process of getting rid of all of his worldly possessions and living in a transportable bedroom studio, it seems the billionaire still has his eyes on at least one prize — the final frontier, outer space. Unfortunately for Musk, however, it looks like another billionaire industry disruptor has beaten him to the punch when it comes to commercial space flight: none other than Richard Branson

As CNN and others reported on July 12, Branson, the business magnate and founder of Virgin Group, recently completed a mission to the very outskirts of space — per Insider, at least 55 miles up into the air — with a full crew to boot. According to CNN, the venture is a huge step towards the sector of space tourism, and the mission was followed by a major surge in stock for Virgin, as well as a significant uptick in Virgin's valuation, which is at $12 billion at the time of this writing. And as Insider noted in their coverage, that fact was hardly lost on Musk, who by virtue of his own company SpaceX is one of Branson's major competitors. So what is the relationship like between the two? And how does Elon Musk feel about Richard Branson's momentous flight towards the stars? Read on after the jump to find out.

Elon Musk visited his "friend" Richard Branson shortly before his landmark trip to space

In a report published by Insider shortly following Richard Branson's historic flight, it seems that not only was Elon Musk supportive of his competitor's accomplishment but actually paid him a surprise visit to his quarters only hours before Branson set out on his launch. The visit, which was, per Branson, purportedly made as a show of support and solidarity, was captured in a photo Musk and Branson took together, and which was later tweeted from Branson's social media account. "Big day ahead," Branson wrote. "Great to start the morning with a friend. Feeling good, feeling excited, feeling ready." 

Later, Branson shared that the visit from Musk had occurred in the early hours of the morning. "It was great this morning to find Elon Musk in my kitchen at 3 o'clock, to come to wish us the best," Branson stated during a press conference held shortly following his completed mission. "I'd already been to bed and he still hadn't gone to bed," he continued, chuckling. "He's an all-nighter, and our time clocks are completely different. But so nice of him to come all this way to wish us well." Musk also had more well-wishes for Branson after he returned from his ground-breaking trip. "Congratulations, beautiful flight!" Musk posted on his Twitter account. With or without a space race, Branson and Musk seem to be supportive of each other.