Blue Origin Auctions New Shepard Ride with Bezos for $28M, 4th Passenger to be Added Soon
Commercial launch services provider Blue Origin‘s online auction for a ride on its New Shepard rocket concluded Saturday with a winning bid of $28 million. The auction winner, whose name the company said would be released within the next few weeks, will join Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark on New Shepard’s first human flight on July 20.
Blue Origin added that a fourth and final crew member on the July 20 mission will also be announced in the near future.
Nearly 7,600 people hailing from 159 countries participated in Blue Origin’s auction. Proceeds will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, which Bezos revealed at SATELLITE 2019 as a “mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help invent the future of life in space.”
The auction received increased attention after Jeff Bezos made a surprise announcement last week that he and his brother were volunteering to be a passenger on the New Shepard rocket for its very first flight with human passengers. The company just recently conducted the New Shepard rocket and crew capsule’s verification launch in April.
There has been some speculation that Virgin founder Richard Branson would attempt to beat the Bezos brothers into space by sneaking an early July flight on Virgin Galactic‘s SpaceShip Two space tourism vehicle. However, Virgin recently told Ars Technica that it has not determined the date its next flight, and that it expects to continue final test flights throughout the summer and into early fall.