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Blue Origin auction sees huge new bid for first rocket ride

A mystery bidder has just offered $3.5 million for a seat on Blue Origin’s first crewed rocket ride on July 20.

Bid for the very first seat on New Shepard

The new offer — an increase of $700,000 on the previous highest bid — is part of an ongoing charity auction and came just hours after Blue Origin owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced he will also be taking the trip, along with his brother.

The auction for the coveted seat began last month, with the current bidding phase set to end on Thursday, June 10. Two days later, a live online auction will take place where previous high bidders will be able to battle it out for a place on board Blue Origin’s tried-and-tested New Shepard rocket.

Blue Origin’s first crewed, suborbital space trip is expected to mark the beginning of a full-fledged space tourism service in which paying customers will be able to fly to the Kármán line — a location about 62 miles above Earth that’s generally considered as the edge of space — for amazing views of our planet. You’ll also be able to float around inside the capsule during a brief period of weightlessness. Finally, the capsule will return to Earth for a parachute-assisted landing in the desert. The whole trip from launch to landing will take around 10 minutes. Prices for the commercial service haven’t been revealed, though previous announcements by Blue Origin suggest that a seat for future flights could cost around $250,000, which is what rival space tourism provider Virgin Galactic is charging for its yet-to-launch service.

Jeff Bezos surprised the world on Monday when he announced via Instagram that he would be taking one of the seats on board the capsule for the July 20 space ride.

“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post revealing the news. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”

In a video accompanying the post, Bezos, currently listed by Forbes as the world’s richest person, with a net worth of $177 billion, said that to see Earth from space “changes you,” adding, “It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one Earth. 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.”

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