Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin sells spaceflight seat at auction for $ 28 million

A New Shepard rocket is launched during a test flight.

Blue Origin

Jeff BezosSpace company Blue Origin auctioned off a seat for its first crewed space flight on Saturday for $ 28 million.

The winning bidder, whose name has not been disclosed, will fly to the edge of space with the Amazon founder and his brother Mark on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket slated for launch on July 20. The company will reveal the name of the auction winner “within weeks”.

Auctions opened at $ 4.8 million but quickly accelerated above $ 20 million in the opening minutes of the auction. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to Blue Origin’s Club for the Future education-focused nonprofit.

New Shepard, a rocket that carries a capsule to an altitude of over 340,000 feet, has performed more than a dozen successful test flights without passengers, including one in April at the company’s facilities in the Texas desert. The self-contained system is designed to carry up to six people. The capsule has massive windows to give passengers a view of the earth below for about three minutes in zero gravity, before returning to Earth.

Blue Origin’s Astronaut and Orbital Sales Manager Ariane Cornell said on New Shepard’s first passenger flight that it would carry a crew of four, with the last person also to be announced later.

New Shepard launches vertically, and the rocket and capsule are reusable. The boosters land vertically on a concrete slab at the company’s facilities in Van Horn, Texas, while the capsules land using a set of parachutes.

The interior of the latest New Shepard capsule

Blue Origin

Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 and still owns the company, finance it by selling shares of his Amazon Stock.

July 20 also marks the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

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