An unknown party has bid a massive $28 million for a seat on the first crewed test flight by Blue Origin, the space tourism company founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The live auction for the seat on the Blue Origin flight was held Saturday, June 12, and was streamed online. The identity of the winning bidder was not revealed, but their bid of $28 million was. The company has said that it will reveal the winner’s name at a later date.
According to space.com, including the buyer’s premium, the total comes out to a whopping $29,680,000, which will be donated to Blue Origin’s science education foundation, Club for the Future.
The auctioning of the seat on the rocket has seen a large amount of public interest, beginning when the auction was announced last month. The offering of a $3.5 million bid garnered headlines, as did a subsequent bid of $4 million. But the massive $28 million that eventually won would have been hard to predict.
The winner will have the chance to join Bezos on the first trip aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, which is set for July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing and first walk on the moon. Joining the winner and Bezos will be Bezos’s brother, Mark, a volunteer firefighter. This will be the first crewed mission by Blue Origin, which since 2015 has been performing unmanned tests of its New Shepard rocket, named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard.
The experience will involve a 10-minute trip in which the rocket will be launched, then once it has climbed to altitude the capsule will be released and keep traveling to the Kármán line — the edge of space, defined as 100 km (62 miles) from the average sea level of Earth. That high up, the people inside the capsule will be weightless for a short time, before the capsule comes back to Earth with its descent slowed by a parachute until the capsule lands in the desert.
This is the first of Blue Origin’s planned tourist trips to space. Along with others like Virgin Galactic, several companies are planning to take paying passengers to the very edge of space. But even for a ticket that isn’t auctioned, the price still will be exceedingly steep. Future prices are expected to be around $250,000 for a trip with Blue Origin or with Virgin Galactic.
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