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Blue Origin reveals current highest bid for space tourism ride

Someone somewhere is prepared to pay $2.8 million for a 10-minute suborbital space trip.

That’s currently the highest bid in an ongoing auction for a seat on Blue Origin’s first space tourism adventure.

The first phase of the auction accepted sealed bids and ran from May 5 through May 19. Offers came in from more than 5,000 people in 136 countries, with Blue Origin on Wednesday revealing the highest bid to be $1.4 million.

But within hours of the public phase of the auction going live on Wednesday, the highest bid jumped to $2.4 million and then $2.8 million (the current highest bid can be seen here). Interested folks have until June 10 to go higher. Alternatively, they could wait until June 12, when the final phase of the auction takes place in the form of a one-day bidding session that can be followed live online.

So, what will the winner get for their multimillion-dollar payment? Well, the once-in-a-lifetime experience will start and finish at Blue Origin’s spaceport in the West Texas desert on July 12. It’ll involve an exhilarating ride aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket to the Kármán line, the point generally considered the edge of space, about 62 miles above Earth.

Besides enjoying the beautiful views, the space tourist will be able to leave their seat to experience a brief period of weightlessness inside the capsule before returning to Earth in a parachute-assisted landing. Several others, all Blue Origin personnel, will join the space tourist inside the capsule for the maiden crewed flight.

Blue Origin, led by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is aiming to launch a regular space tourism service in the near future. July’s launch will be the first crewed mission following 14 successful test flights of the New Shepard rocket since 2015.

The company is yet to reveal what it will charge for a seat aboard its capsule when it starts operating a regular space tourism service, though its promise to price the experience competitively suggests a ticket will cost around $250,000 — the fee that rival space tourism operator Virgin Galactic is charging for its yet-to-launch service.

In that case, the cost of a seat on Blue Origin’s maiden crewed flight is pricey to say the least, but clearly that’s what you have to pay to be the first.

Blue Origin is not revealing any details about who’s behind the bids. The identity of the person who makes the highest offer will be revealed on June 12, at the end of the final phase of the auction.

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