An anonymous benefactor will pay $28 million for an inaugural flight on Blue Origin’s suborbital spaceship.
The seat was sold during a live auction on June 12, 2021. The company said that the identity of the winner is going to be disclosed in several weeks after the auction.
Blue Origin’s first space tourism flight is going to be conducted on July 20, 2021. On the flight, the winner will be accompanied by the company’s founder and (currently) world’s richest man Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, as well as the fourth passenger whose identity is yet to be disclosed as well.
The auction for the very first seat on #NewShepard has concluded with a winning bid of $28 million. The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, @ClubforFuture. Full replay of the auction webcast: https://t.co/5Vc8IvWxJR pic.twitter.com/IlGbgOFmhx— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) June 12, 2021
The flight will carry four people just beyond the Karman line – the internationally recognized edge of space. It is going to last 11 minutes and be the first manned mission for the Blue Origin company, which has been testing the new spacecraft through the last decade.
New Shepard, named after the first American astronaut Alan Shepard, can carry up to seven passengers to an altitude of over 100 kilometers (approx. 62 miles). It is, however, incapable of orbital flight – a feat which Blue Origin aims to accomplish with its next spacecraft, New Glenn.
Recently, Bezos’ company has been locked in a bitter rivalry with the ventures of other so-called “space billionaires” – Ricard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The former of them, reportedly, aims to conduct the first manned mission of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane before July 20. Virgin Galactic downplayed the rumors but did not deny that it will try to overtake Blue Origin.