A New Shepard missile takes off on a test flight.
Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin auctioned a seat for its upcoming first manned spaceflight for $ 28 million on Saturday.
The successful bidder, whose name has not been published, will fly to the edge of space with the Amazon founder and his brother Mark on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, due to launch on July 20th. The company will announce the name of the auction winner “in the following weeks”.
The bidding started at $ 4.8 million but quickly accelerated to over $ 20 million within the first few minutes of the auction. The proceeds from the auction will be donated to Blue Origin’s educational nonprofit Club for the Future.
New Shepard, a rocket that lifts a capsule to over 340,000 feet, has flown more than a dozen successful passenger-free test flights, including one in April at the company’s facility in the Texas desert. The autonomous system is designed for the transport of up to six people. The capsule has massive windows to allow passengers to view Earth for about three minutes in weightlessness before returning to Earth.
Ariane Cornell, director of astronaut and orbital sales at Blue Origin, said during New Shepard’s first passenger flight that it will carry a crew of four, with the final person also being announced later.
New Shepard launches vertically and both the rocket and capsule are reusable. The boosters land vertically on a concrete slab at the company’s facility in Van Horn, Texas, while the capsules land with a set of parachutes.
The inside of the newest New Shepard capsule
Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 and still owns the company by funding it through stock sales of his Amazon shares.
July 20th also marks the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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