The first buyer to fly on Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital spacecraft pays not less than $2.6 million for the privilege.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is auctioning off one of New Shepard’s six seats for the car’s first-ever crewed flight, which is scheduled to raise off on July 20. The auction started on May 5 with sealed on-line bidding and moved to the unsealed part on Wednesday (May 19).
That means we are able to now see how a lot the seat goes for. As you in all probability surmised, it isn’t chump change; the main bid as of Wednesday afternoon, as shown on the Blue Origin website, is $2.6 million.
And that determine will nearly definitely go up. The “unsealed online bidding” part runs by way of June 10, and the occasion concludes with a stay auction on June 12.
The successful bid won’t additional line the pockets of Bezos, who’s already the richest individual on this planet. Rather, the cash “will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] and help invent the future of life in space,” Blue Origin representatives wrote in a description of the auction on the corporate’s web site.
New Shepard consists of a rocket and a capsule, each of that are totally reusable. The rocket returns to Earth for a vertical, powered landing, and the capsule lands softly underneath parachutes. This has occurred many instances already; New Shepard has flown 15 uncrewed check flights to suborbital space from Blue Origin’s West Texas web site. The most up-to-date flight launched on April 14 in an “astronaut rehearsal” mission.
The first crewed flight will come on July 20, if all goes in line with plan. That date was probably chosen advisedly; it is the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon touchdown. And Blue Origin introduced the goal launch date and the auction on May 5, the sixtieth anniversary of the primary American crewed spaceflight, which despatched NASA astronaut Alan Shepard on a 15-minute suborbital jaunt. (New Shepard is called after the astronaut and his mission.)
Blue Origin has not but introduced how a lot it’s going to usually cost for seats aboard New Shepard, although it is a secure wager it’s going to be lower than $2.6 million. The most lately said ticket worth for the corporate’s chief rival within the suborbital space tourism business, Virgin Galactic, was $250,000.
Virgin Galactic has not but flown any paying prospects, but it surely does have two crewed spaceflights underneath its belt — check missions that launched in December 2018 and February 2019. (Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo space plane is piloted, whereas New Shepard is designed to fly autonomously.)
Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a e-book in regards to the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.