28 million dollars for a flight in space with Jeff Bezos
Sylvie Claire / June 13, 2021
A wealthy, lucky winner on Saturday paid $28 million for an auctioned seat to accompany Jeff Bezos on Blue Origin's first space tourism flight scheduled for July 20.
The winner, whose identity will be known in the coming weeks, beat out some 20 participants in the final online auction, which lasted less than ten minutes.
The process had begun in May with bids that had reached $4.8 million on Thursday. That was the starting price on Saturday for the seat, alongside the Amazon founder and his brother Mark.
Proceeds from the sale will be donated to Blue Origin's Club for the Future Foundation, which encourages young people to work in science and space.
Jeff Bezos, who will leave his position as head of Amazon in July, had announced in early June that he would be part of the first manned flight in the New Shepard rocket with his brother and the winner of an auction for a third seat.
Ariane Cornell, chief commercial officer at Blue Origin, said Saturday that a fourth space tourist would make the trip, without giving his identity.
The capsule atop the rocket, with large windows, can accommodate up to six people in reclining seats, specially made to absorb the shock of landing, according to Blue Origin.
New Shepard will lift off from a desert in West Texas. The rocket will lift off vertically and the capsule will separate from it at about 75 km altitude, continuing its trajectory until it passes the Karman Line at the 100 km altitude, which defines the boundary between the Earth's atmosphere and space.
Passengers will be able to float in zero gravity for about three minutes and observe the curvature of the Earth.
During this time, the rocket will come down to land gently on a runway, always vertically
Then the capsule itself will start a free fall to return to Earth, and will be braked by three large parachutes and retro rockets before landing in the desert.
The rocket has completed 15 test flights and we are ready to fly astronauts, Ariane Cornell said Saturday, noting that only 569 people have passed the Karman line.
This trip comes at a time when competition is raging between Blue Origin, the SpaceX group led by Elon Musk and Virgin Galactic founded by Richard Branson.
Space is a priority for Jeff Bezos, and a potential source of considerable revenue, although Blue Origin is currently lagging behind its main competitor SpaceX in the field of satellites as well as missions in space.