A ticket to take a brief trip to space with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos next month has been auctioned for $ 28 million.
The bidding process, which began in early May, attracted bids from more than 7,000 participants from 159 countries, Blue Origin said. The price stood at $ 4.8 million ahead of Saturday’s live auction, which was broadcast online.
The identity of the winning bidder has not yet been made public, but will be revealed in the coming weeks, Blue Origin said.
Whoever will travel with three other passengers, including Bezos and his younger brother, Mark. The “fourth and last” passenger will be announced soon, the company said.
About 10 minutes from launch to landing, about three of which are weightless, the trip will cost the successful bidder more than $ 9 million per minute spent in space.
The amount of the winning bid will be donated to Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s foundation focused on STEM education programs.
The launch is slated to take place in Texas on July 20, 15 days after Bezos left as CEO of Amazon.
A company spokesperson declined to say whether the timing of Bezos’ transition as executive chairman was related to his desire to make the trip, which will be the first in the company to include human passengers.
“Since I was five years old, I have dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos said in an Instagram post last week.
“On July 20, I will be making this trip with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.
To date, 15 test flights of the New Shepard capsule have been completed. All were successful except for the first, in April 2015, when the rocket crash-landed, although the capsule returned to Earth safely.
If successful, the trip aboard the New Shepard capsule would be the first commercial spaceflight to take a civilian past the Kármán Line, the internationally recognized edge of space, more than 100 km above Earth.
However, Blue Origin’s timeline is said to have prompted Virgin Galactic, the rival space tourism company founded by Sir Richard Branson, to push ahead with its plans.
Blue Origin, which has so far been fully funded by funds raised by Bezos by selling its Amazon shares, has not announced any details on pricing for future trips – but said “the most competitive” bidders will be approached. for their interest in future flights.