Let's just say the price is out of this world.
On June 12, via a livestream posted its website, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin aerospace firm auctioned off a coveted ticket for this historic flight to an anonymous bidder whose name will be released to the public in the next few weeks. When the smoke cleared and the final gavel fell, the winning bid came in at a staggering $28 million.
A total of four persons will strap in for the 10-minute rocket ride on July 20 inside a capsule named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space. The crew will be made up of Bezos and his brother, Mark, the lucky mystery bidder, and one more passenger to be named later.
Approximately 7,600 people registered for this rare chance to see Earth from the vantage point of space, which represented bids delivered from 159 countries. This massive winning hammer price will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, an organization whose mission is to inspire future generations to steer toward STEM careers and contribute to a new world of space travel.
Since its first mission on April 29, 2015, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket and capsule have completed 15 unmanned test flights. This upcoming summertime liftoff to an altitude of 65 miles above the Earth will be its initial crewed excursion. If a crisis does arise in the course of the quick 10-minute trip, there's an emergency system that will jettison the passenger capsule clear of the rocket.
Citizen astronauts aboard the July 20 mission will experience gravity three times that of the Earth’s, pressing them into their seats. Following a main engine burn of roughly three minutes, the booster rocket detaches from the New Shepard capsule and drifts back down to Earth.
At this point, Bezos and his companion travelers can unbuckle their straps and feel three whole minutes of weightlessness as they gaze back at the beauty of our Big Blue Marble. It all ends fairly fast as the four passengers then brace for reentry into the atmosphere and parachute safely onto the barren West Texas desert floor, where a recovery team awaits.
New Shepard is slated to blast off from Blue Origin's West Texas launch facility on July 20, an important date marking the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo moon landing when Neil Armstrong made those immortal first steps onto the lunar surface.