- The first tourist on Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft will pay $28 million for the trip to the edge of space.
- The company began taking bids last month for a seat on the spacecraft in its first crewed trip set for July 20.
- The winner of the auction will fly on the spacecraft with Jeff Bezos and his brother for 11 minutes.
The winning bid for a seat on Blue Origin’s first-ever space tourism flight came in at an eye-popping $28 million during a Saturday live auction.
The winner will be joining Blue Origin’s founder Jeff Bezos on the New Shepard spacecraft for an 11-minute trip to the edge of space scheduled to blast off on July 20. The name of the winner will be released in coming weeks, the company said.
Bezos announced on Monday he would be aboard the New Shepard’s first flight with a full human crew that will include his brother, Mark Bezos. The Amazon founder has said he intends to spend more time focusing on Blue Origin after he steps down as Amazon CEO later this year.
Bidding on Saturday opened at $4.8 million and quickly shot up to $28 million. Blue Origin opened the auction for a seat on the inaugural crewed New Shepard flight on May 5 and more than 7,000 people from 159 countries registered, the company said on Saturday. Some of those bidders will be contacted about taking a seat on future space flights, the company said.
The money raised from the auction will go towards Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, which the company says will contribute towards the development of life in space and inspire future generations to pursue careers in science.
In order to qualify for the “Astronaut Experience,” participants must meet a series of requirements set forth by Blue Origin, including the ability to deal with heights, walk on uneven surfaces, and handle up to three times the individual’s weight. The participant will fill out a long series of waivers, as well as complete a special Blue Origin training program.
Bezos and the rest of the crew will float around the cabin of the spacecraft for just three minutes before strapping in again for the descent back to the ground.
Blue Origin, founded in 2000, plans to use this launch system to carry tourists up to the edge of space. New Shepard’s goal is simple: Give paying customers the ride of their lives. Passengers will get a few minutes of stunning views out of the largest windows of any spaceship in the world.
The company has yet to release any ticket prices or specifics related to its plans for full capacity space tourism. But, Virgin Galactic – Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism company – has sold tickets for about $250,000 to about 600 passengers. Bezos has said in the past that tickets to ride on Blue Origin’s New Shepard tourism rocket will have competitive prices with the other space-tourism company.
An initial video announcing the space tickets has footage of Bezos visiting the New Shepard capsule after the company’s latest test flight earlier in April.
“Guys, how exciting is this – come on!” Bezos said in the video, labeled “It’s time.”