A New Shepard rocket launches on a test flight.
Jeff Bezos’ space venture Blue Origin auctioned off a seat on its upcoming first crewed spaceflight on Saturday for $28 million.
The winning bidder, whose name wasn’t released, will fly to the edge of space with the Amazon founder and his brother Mark on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket scheduled to launch on July 20. The company will reveal the name of the auction winner “in the weeks following.”
Bidding opened at $4.8 million but accelerated quickly above $20 million within the first few minutes of the auction. The auction’s proceeds will be donated to Blue Origin’s education-focused nonprofit Club for the Future.
New Shepard, a rocket that carries a capsule to an altitude of over 340,000 feet, has flown more than a dozen successful test flights without passengers, including one in April at the company’s facility in the Texas desert. The autonomous system is designed to carry up to six people. The capsule has massive windows to give passengers a view of the earth below during about three minutes in zero gravity, before returning to Earth.
Blue Origin director of astronaut and orbital sales Ariane Cornell said during that New Shepard’s first passenger flight will carry a crew of four, with the final person also to be announced later.
New Shepard launches vertically, and both the rocket and capsule are reusable. The boosters land vertically on a concrete pad at the company’s facility in Van Horn, Texas, while the capsules land using a set of parachutes.
The interior of the latest New Shepard capsule
Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 and still owns the company, funding it through share sales of his Amazon stock.
July 20 also marks the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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