Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has found a buddy to go with him to space.
An unnamed bidder bagged a trip to space alongside the 57-year-old billionaire and his younger brother Mark to the tune of an astronomical $28 million or about P1.3 billion.
Blue Origin—Jeff Bezos’ aerospace manufacturing and spaceflight services company—announced on Saturday, June 12, that the very first seat on the New Shepard launch vehicle was sold during an online auction.
According to the company, about 7,600 people from 159 countries registered to bid for the coveted once-in-a-lifetime trip to space.
The bidding, which was for a 10- to 12-minute suborbital flight, started at $4.8 million but in just a few minutes in the online auction, the bids surpassed the $20-million mark. And just six minutes after the auction’s final round, the amount skyrocketed to the winning bid of $28 million, according to CBS News.
The winning bidder, together with a fourth crew member, will join the Bezos brothers for a commercial flight to space aboard the six-seat New Shepard, which will take its maiden human flight on July 20. The flight coincides with the 52nd anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing.
According to the company’s website, New Shepard, which was named after Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space, is a fully autonomous vehicle. Every person onboard is a passenger and there are no pilots!
The massive winning bid will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation called Club for the Future, which aims to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and “to help invent the future of life in space.”
In a tweet, Blue Origin said the name of the auction winner will be released in the weeks following the auction’s conclusion. The company teases that a fourth and final crew member will also be revealed.
The auction for the very first seat on #NewShepard has concluded with a winning bid of $28 million. The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, @ClubforFuture. Full replay of the auction webcast: https://t.co/5Vc8IvWxJR pic.twitter.com/IlGbgOFmhx— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) June 12, 2021
Early this month, Bezos announced his plans to fly into space with his brother Mark.
“I want to go on this flight because it's a thing I've wanted to do all my life," Bezos said in a video statement. "It's an adventure."
"To see the Earth from space, it changes you," Bezos said. "It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It's one Earth.”
In order for one to get a seat in this trip to space, one does not just need deep pockets to fund the trip but he or she must also meet a long list of “functional requirements” set by the company.
According to the company, passengers must be between 5ft. and 6’4” tall, weighing 110 to 223 lbs. They must also be able to climb the New Shepard launch tower (equivalent to seven flights of stairs) in under 90 seconds.
They must also be able to sit strapped in the crew capsule’s reclined seat for 40 minutes (up to 90 minutes if there is a launch delay) without getting up, and without access to a bathroom.
Other requirements include not being afraid of heights at the top of the launch tower, fastening and unfastening a seat harness in less than 15 seconds, one must be able to “hear and understand instructions in English,” and more.
Blue Origin said it will provide necessary familiarization and training to those who will be onboard for them to be spaceflight-ready.
Banner and thumbnail photos from blueorigin.com