A seat on a spaceship with billionaire Jeff Bezos went for $28 million at a live auction on Saturday, May 12. Bezos revealed this week that he and his brother Mark will board 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 to this day.
Bidding for the seat next to Bezos had reached $4.8 million on Thursday. However, it increased significantly during the last live auction.
The New Shepard trip will be 10 minutes long and will begin in a West Texas desert. After liftoff, the capsule will separate from its booster and then spend four minutes at an altitude of over 60 miles. During this time, those on board will experience weightlessness and be able to observe the curvature of the Earth.
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The booster will then land autonomously on a pad two miles from the launch site. During this time, the capsule will rise to the surface with three large parachutes that will help slow it to about a mile per hour when it lands.
“We are ready to fly astronauts,” Blue Origin Astronaut and Orbit Sales Manager Ariane Cornell said Saturday, June 12.
Unmanned automated capsules have six seats with horizontal backrests. They were placed next to large portholes, in a futuristic cabin also with swish lighting. Several cameras have been installed to help capture the few minutes that space tourists experience in weightlessness.
The reusable suborbital rocket system is named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space 60 years ago.
Earlier this month, Jeff Bezos announced he would board the New Shepard. In an Instagram post, Bezos said it’s been his dream to travel to space since he was five years old.
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