Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is getting ready to fly into space with his own rocket. The 57-year-old billionaire announced on Instagram on Monday that he and his brother would take the first passenger flight on the Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft in July. In addition, he will auction a previously unoccupied space to the highest bidder in an auction. Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000.
The aerospace company started the online auction at the beginning of May. Just a few hours after the announcement, the auction bids were already over 3.2 million US dollars. The current highest bid can be seen on the Blue Origin website. Online bidding will continue until June 10th. A live auction will take place on June 12th.
Auction proceeds go to Blue Origin Foundation Club for the Future Thousands of participants from all over the world have already competed for a seat on the space probe’s maiden flight with Jeff Bezos. The award amount will be donated to the Blue Origin Foundation Club for the Future. Their mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in the MINT field (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, technology) and to explore the future of life in space.
The trip is scheduled for July 20, just two weeks after Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon. The chosen travel date coincides with the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It will be the 16th flight from New Shepard, but the first with passengers. The space capsule RSS First Step Crew Capsule, which is carried by the New Shepard rocket, offers space for a total of six astronauts.
In about eleven minutes of flight time, passengers should also spend time over the Karman Line, which marks the recognized boundary between the earth’s atmosphere and space. After taking off, the capsule separates from its booster and then remains for four minutes at an altitude of more than 100 kilometers.
During this time, passengers experience weightlessness and can observe the curvature of the earth from space. At the end of the flight there is a gentle landing in the Texas desert using a parachute on the capsule.
Jeff Bezos ’brother Mark will join him on the flight. Bezos admitted he was surprised:
I didn’t even expect him to say he would be there on the first flight. What a remarkable opportunity not only to experience this adventure but to do it with my best friend.
For Jeff Bezos, a long-awaited dream comes true with the flight
I’ve dreamed of going into space since I was five years old. […] Seeing the earth from space changes you, changes your relationship to this planet. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal to me
Blue Origin plans to fly paying customers into space in the future. That is why the whole action was staged in a PR-oriented way in order to attract maximum attention.