A seat on a spaceship ride with billionaire Jeff Bezos went for $28 million during a live auction on Saturday, May 12. Bezos revealed this week that both he and his brother Mark would take seats onboard the company’s New Shepard launch vehicle on July 20, to fly to the edge of space and back.
The brothers will be joined by the winner of Saturday’s charity auction. His identity remains unknown as of now.
Bidding for the seat next to Bezos had reached $4.8 million by Thursday. However, it drastically shot up in the final live auction.
The New Shepard trip will last 10 minutes and will begin from a desert in western Texas. After lift-off, the capsule will separate from its booster and then spends four minutes at an altitude exceeding 60 miles. During this time those the people onboard will experience weightlessness and will be able to observe the curvature of Earth.
The booster will then land autonomously on a pad two miles from the launch site. Meanwhile, the capsule will float back to the surface with three large parachutes that will help to slow it down to about a mile per hour when it lands.
“We’re ready to fly some astronauts,” said Blue Origin’s director of astronaut and orbital sales, Ariane Cornell, on Saturday, June 12.
The automated capsules with no pilot have six seats with horizontal backrests. They have been placed next to large portholes, in a futuristic cabin with also includes swish lighting. Multiple cameras have been installed to help in immortalizing the few minutes the space tourists experience weightlessness.
The reusable suborbital rocket system has been named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space 60 years ago.
Earlier this month, Jeff Bezos announced that he will be boarding the New Shepard. In an Instagram post, Bezos said that it was his dream to travel to space ever since he was five years old.