All is getting set for Blue Origin’s space trip that will have the world richest man, Jeff Bezos as passenger. An auction for the ride next month alongside Bezos and his brother ended with a winning $28 million bid Saturday. ABC has the report.
The Amazon founder’s rocket company, Blue Origin, did not disclose the winner’s name following the live online auction. The identity will be revealed in a couple weeks — closer to the brief up-and-down flight from West Texas on July 20, the 52nd anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moon landing.
It will be the first launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket with people on board, kicking off the company’s space tourism business. Fifteen previous test flights of the reusable rocket and capsule since 2015 — short hops lasting about 10 minutes — were all successful.
Saturday’s auction followed more than a month of online bidding that reached $4.8 million by Friday. More than 7,500 people from 159 countries registered to bid, according to Blue Origin. More than 20 bidders — the high rollers — took part in Saturday’s auction.
Bezos announced Monday that he and his younger brother, Mark, would be on board New Shepard’s first crew flight; the news quickly boosted bidding. The winning amount is being donated to Blue Origin’s Club for the Future, an educational effort to promote science and tech among young people.
The completely automated capsule can carry up to six passengers, each with their own big window. Blue Origin’s top sales director, Ariane Cornell, said following the auction that the fourth and final seat on the debut crew flight will be announced soon.
While Blue Origin has yet to open ticket sales to the public or divulge prices, the success of this trip will mean wider opportunity for the public, wishing to have a taste of space travel.
Since the past 10 years, the goal of developing commercial space aircrafts has gained momentum, with many billionaires putting in resources to make it happen. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic is also planning on conducting flights to suborbital space for ultra-wealthy thrill seekers, putting up competition with Blue Origin and SpaceX. Like Bezos, the British billionaire said he would be among the first to ride on Virgin Galactic’s rocket-powered plane which is expected to fly later this year.
Blue Origin is a six-seater capsule and 59-foot rocket, it’s crew will tear the rocket toward the edge of space on a 11-minute flight that’ll reach more than 60 miles above Earth.