What's the point in building a crewed spacecraft if you can't take a spin in it yourself? Turns out, those bidding for a seat on Blue Origin's first suborbital tourist flight next month will be joined by two special guests: The private aerospace company's founder, and the world's second richest person, Jeff Bezos, and his brother Mark.
Taking to Instagram, the outgoing Amazon CEO said: "Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend." He signed off with a hashtag containing the Blue Origin motto "Gradatim Ferociter," a Latin phrase that means "step by step, ferociously."
Bidding is currently underway for a tourist spot on the space venture's inaugural human flight aboard the New Shepard rocket. Close to 6,000 participants from 143 countries have already taken part, with the highest bid at $2.8 million. Blue Origin has said that it will donate the proceeds to its STEM-focused foundation, Club for the Future. The bidding, which you can register for until June 10th, is set to conclude with a live auction on June 12th.
Just over a month later on July 20th, the launch will take six passengers 62 miles (or just shy of 100km) above the surface of the Earth. Those on the flight will experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth, before returning back to the ground.
Now, we know who two of those passengers will be. Notably, by that point Jeff Bezos will no longer be CEO of Amazon as he is set to exit the role to become exec chairman on July 5th. In his place, Amazon Web Services head Andy Jassy will assume the top job.
As for his brother, Mark Bezos is a co-founder of private equity firm HighPost Capital and a director of the Bezos Family Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on early learning education. He previously owned an ad agency and served as the senior VP of communications for the Robin Hood Foundation, an anti-poverty organization.