Blue Origin will soon launch its first-ever space tourism rocket trip. Inside a capsule atop its New Shepard booster will be none other than Amazon founder and Blue Origin owner Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, together with the person who bids the most in an online auction this weekend.
The charity auction for the coveted seat actually started last month, with the current bid increasing in the last couple of days from $2.8 million to a whopping $4 million. The identity of the bidders hasn’t been made public.
The current phase of the auction will end on Thursday, June 10, with the final auction event taking place on Saturday, June 12, in which the previous highest bidders will have a chance to make their final offers.
Blue Origin will livestream Saturday’s auction, so if you fancy seeing precisely how much someone is prepared to cough up for the company’s first-ever crewed, suborbital space trip, then read on for details on how to watch.
The auction livestream will take place on Blue Origin’s website at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) on Saturday. How long the auction takes of course depends on whether multiple bidders end up battling it out over a prolonged period, or whether most of them quickly fall away as the price climbs out of reach.
Once the auction is over, the winner, plus the Bezos brothers, will start training for the spaceflight, which is set to launch from Blue Origin’s spaceport in the West Texas desert on Tuesday, July 20.
Truth be told, there shouldn’t be too much preparation involved as Blue Origin’s 10-minute space tourism experience is largely automated. Shortly after lift-off, the capsule will release from the rocket and travel onward to the Kármán line, a location about 62 miles above Earth that’s widely accepted as marking the edge of space.
After a brief period of weightlessness inside the capsule, and after admiring what promises to be an epic view of Earth, the capsule and its passengers will return home in a parachute-assisted landing in the desert, not far from the launch site.
Blue Origin is aiming to launch a commercial flight service with regular trips to suborbital space. Rather than costing millions of dollars, however, a seat is expected to cost around $250,000, which is what rival space tourism service Virgin Galactic has been charging for reservations for its similar, yet-to-launch space experience.