Internet billionaires face off in renewed Texas space race

By MICHAEL GRACZYK
Associated Press

VAN HORN, Texas (AP) - A remote operation that resembles the Air Force's famously secret Area 51 is one of two Texas sites playing host to a 21st-century space race.

The private ventures at opposite edges the state are backed by Internet billionaires whose strategies and personalities seem worlds apart.

Low-key Amazon founder Jeff Bezos over the past decade has bought huge tracts of West Texas mountains and desert for his Blue Origin firm's launch site. Officials, who rarely discuss their plans, have said suborbital test flights may begin late this year.

And 600 miles to the southeast, Elon Musk, who helped start PayPal, is building a launch operation for his high-profile SpaceX company, which also has a contract with NASA.

Both men are intent on reusable spacecraft to trim space travel costs.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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