At an auction on Saturday, an unknown bidder paid $28 million for a seat alongside Jeff Bezos on the billionaire’s business Blue Origin’s first crewed spaceflight, which will take place next month.
The Amazon entrepreneur announced this week that he and his brother Mark will travel to the edge of space and return aboard the company’s New Shepard launch vehicle on July 20.
According to Blue Origin’s director of astronaut and orbital sales Ariane Cornell, they will be accompanied by the winner of Saturday’s charity auction, whose identity will be revealed in the following weeks, and a fourth, as yet unnamed space tourist.
In an auction that began on May 19 and ended with a 10-minute livecast frenzy on Saturday, the winning bidder beat out more than 20 competitors.
By Thursday, bidding had reached $4.8 million, but it soared in the last live auction, climbing in million-dollar increments.
Aside from a 6% auctioneer’s charge, all revenues will go to Blue Origin’s Club for the Future charity, which strives to encourage future generations to pursue jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
The New Shepard flight will take off from a desert in western Texas and last ten minutes, four of which will be spent above the Karman line, which defines the accepted boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space.
The capsule separates from its launcher after lift-off and spends four minutes at an altitude of more than 60 miles (100 kilometers), during which time people on board experience weightlessness and may see the curvature of the Earth from space.
The rocket lands on a pad two miles from the launch site, and the capsule floats down to the surface with three big parachutes that slow it down to approximately a mile per hour.
Bezos, who revealed earlier this year that he is stepping down as CEO of Amazon to focus on other initiatives like as Blue Origin, has stated that travelling into space is a longstanding ambition of his.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard has completed more than a dozen uncrewed test runs from its Guadalupe Mountains location in west Texas.
Alan Shepard, the first American in space 60 years ago, was honored with the name of the reusable suborbital rocket vehicle.
Six chairs with horizontal backrests are arranged adjacent to wide portholes in a futuristic cabin with swish lighting in the automated capsules with no pilot.
Multiple cameras serve to capture the weightlessness sensation of the space travellers for the short minutes it lasts.