Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, will take part in the first space tourism trip organized by his company Blue Origin.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” the billionaire announced on Instagram. Bezos will embark on the New Shepard capsule along with his brother and the winner of an auction for the third ticket.
After 6,000 participants from 143 countries took part in an initial auction, the current highest bid for the commercial space voyage is up at $2.8 million. The process is scheduled to end on June 12, 2021, with an online auction. The winning bid will go to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, to promote science and technology-driven careers.
Take-off is scheduled for July 20, 2021. On the day of departure, the rocket will take off vertically and the capsule will separate from it at about 75 kilometers of altitude, before reaching 100 kilometers autonomously. Passengers onboard will then be able to float in zero gravity for a few minutes and observe the curvature of the space. The capsule will then descend towards the Earth, slowed down by three large parachutes and retro rockets before landing in a desert in West Texas.
Blue Origin started prototype engine and capsule testing in 2006, while the full engine development began in 2010 and was completed in 2015. The vehicle was named after the first American astronaut in space, Alan Shepard, who was one of the NASA Mercury Seven astronauts having ascended to space on a suborbital trajectory.