Amazon’s billionaire founder Jeff Bezos will be aboard Blue Origin’s first human space flight next month.
In an Instagram post early Monday, Bezos said he, his brother Mark and the winner of an ongoing auction will be aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft during its scheduled launch on July 20.
"Ever since I was 5 years old, I've dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother," Bezos said.
July 20 is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The trip will be a brief hop to space from Texas.
Bezos said in early February that he was stepping down as CEO of Amazon to spend more time, among other things, focused on Blue Origin.
“To see the Earth from space, it changes you, changes your relationship with this planet. It’s one Earth,” Bezos said in the Instagram post. “I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.”
Bezos and fellow billionaire Elon Musk have been investing heavily in their rocket startups, but Blue Origin and Musk's SpaceX have so far only sent satellites for clients into orbit.
The auction for an open seat on New Shepard ends Saturday.
Blue Origin closed the first round of the auction last month and said it had received more than 5,200 bidders from 136 countries, without disclosing the highest bid from the round.
The current highest bid stood at $2.8 million in the ongoing second round of the auction, according to Blue Origin's website.
The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help invent the future of life in space.
Blue Origin is targeting July 20 for its first suborbital sightseeing trip on its spacecraft, a landmark moment in a competition to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel.
The New Shepard rocket-and-capsule combo is designed to autonomously fly six passengers more than 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth into suborbital space, high enough to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the planet before the pressurized capsule returns to earth aided by parachutes.
The capsule features six observation windows Blue Origin says are nearly three times as tall as those on a Boeing 747 jetliner and the largest ever used in space.
Reuters reported in 2018 that Blue Origin was planning to charge passengers at least $200,000 for the ride, based on an appraisal of rival plans from billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. and other considerations, though its thinking may have changed.
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