Richard Branson beats Jeff Bezos to space, memes and jokes blast after him

Is the Virgin Galactic billionaire going to acquire Fantastic Four-style superpowers now?

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read
Richard Branson/Virgin Galactic

It's the battle of the space billionaires. Richard Branson flew to the edge of space Sunday morning aboard his Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Unity, nine days before Blue Origin's billionaire, Jeff Bezos, is scheduled to make his space trip.

"Welcome to the dawn of a new space age," Branson tweeted.

 Branson made his way safely back to Earth, and into plenty of memes and online jokes.

Many of the memes poked fun at the rivalry between Branson and Bezos.

Watch this: Watch Virgin Galactic launch Richard Branson to space on historic Unity 22 mission

"Wait until Branson, Bezos and Musk find out that Warren Buffett has built a rocket in his garage and will beat them all to space," joked one Twitter user.

Another wished for more serious competition, writing, "Man, I wish these billionaires felt this competitive about how many people they could help. 'Branson determined to beat Bezos by increasing worker benefits 15%. Bezos counters with 25%!' But no... space races."

Some memes brought in Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his bizarre July 4 video in which he rides an electric surfboard while holding an American flag.

"Why won't he fly to space like all the other weirdo billionaires?" asked one tweet.

Other memes poked fun at the entire concept of a billionaire tooling around in space for an hour, with plenty of comic-book and superhero references. After all the Fantastic Four developed their powers during an experimental space jaunt.

More space jokes will surely go into orbit when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos catches up to Branson with his own space flight, on July 20.

Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic: See the space dream come to life

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