Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has found the very first person who will fly with the billionaire tycoon to space and return aboard the company’s first crewed spaceflight next month. Bezos, his brother Mark, the bid winner and another person will take the flight in the New Shepherd rocket system that will allow them to enjoy a few minutes of microgravity in space before bringing them back to the land. The winning bid was awarded for $28 million (roughly Rs. 205 crore) but the winner’s identity has been kept secret for now.
The auction was held on Saturday and within four minutes, bids breached the $20 million (roughly Rs. 150 crore) mark. The bidding closed seven minutes after it began. The company said winning bid amount, $28 million, will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, to help it inspire future generations to invent the future of life in space.
In a statement, Blue Origin said the name of the auction winner will be released in the coming weeks after some formalities are completed. Bezos, the Amazon CEO and space enthusiast, founded Blue Origin in 2000 to take humanity to space. The company statement accompanied a video that detailed the auction process.
The New Shepard, Blue Origin’s reusable suborbital rocket system, will be launched from West Texas on July 20. This launch will mark the beginning of a new chapter in commercial space launches in the US, where another billionaire tycoon – Elon Musk – has already begun sending humans to space with his SpaceX company. And Virgin’s Richard Branson is also allegedly scrambling for space and might get there first.
In an Instagram post last week, Bezos announced in a video message that he will be on Blue Origin’s first flight to space with his brother Mark. “To see the Earth from space, it changes you, it changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one Earth,” Bezos says in the video.
New Shepard, a 60-foot-tall reusable rocket, will reach the Karma Line at 100 kilometre mean sea level, and then descend back to Earth, all in a matter of 10 minutes that will give the passengers a sight-seeing experience in micro-gravity for nearly three minutes.