Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is going on an 11-minute ride to space with his younger brother Mark on July 20. The Bezos brothers will be joined by another passenger who has won the spare seat on the New Shepard space rocket for $28 million.
Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin has been running the suborbital New Shepard rocket through a series of successful test flights. The capsule will carry as many as six passengers, though the company has not yet revealed who else will be on board.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of travelling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend. #GradatimFerociter,” Bezos announced on Instagram.
Blue Origin's crewed flight on the six-seater capsule and 59-foot rocket is expected to tear toward the edge of space on an 11-minute flight, breaching the Karman Line and reaching more than 60 miles (approx. 100 km) above Earth. The Kármán Line is the designated starting point of space, bound by broad international agreement and only 569 people so far have been over it.
New Shepard is a reusable, vertical take-off, vertical landing (VTVL) space vehicle operating out of desert land in West Texas’ Van Horn. It is fully autonomous and does not require a pilot, has never had an explosive mishap in 15 test flights with none on board at Blue Origin's facilities in rural Texas.
If everything goes as per plan, Bezos will be the first billionaire entrepreneur to explore new frontiers of space exploration and travel and will beat his rivals Elon Musk and Richard Branson, who are also trying to explore the domain of space tourism.
Bezos, who has been spending about $1 bn a year from his Amazon fortune to fund Blue Origin, has compared space tourism to the barnstormers whose stunt flying enlivened the early days of aviation.
Blue Origin auctioned one seat on the New Shephard for a staggering $28 million. The winner gets to accompany Bezos and his dream mission to the outer space. “The auction for the very first seat on New Shepard has concluded with a winning bid of $28 million. The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future,” Blue Origin tweeted.
The auction for the very first seat on #NewShepard has concluded with a winning bid of $28 million. The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, @ClubforFuture. Full replay of the auction webcast: https://t.co/5Vc8IvWxJR pic.twitter.com/IlGbgOFmhx— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) June 12, 2021
Club for the Future was founded by Blue Origin in 2019. As per its website, “it is a foundation whose mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help invent the future of life in space.”
Blue Origin also said that the name of the auction winner will be released in the weeks following the auction’s conclusion, along with the name of the fourth and final crew member will be announced.