Washington, May 6 (IANS) Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin will fly its first astronaut crew aboard its space tourism rocket called New Shepard on July 20, the company said.
The aerospace company is yet to open ticket sales or release pricing information, but it will host a public auction for a seat on the first crewed launch.
“We are offering one seat on this first flight to the winning bidder of Blue Origin’s online auction. Starting today, anyone can place an opening bid by going to BlueOrigin.com,” the company wrote on its website on Wednesday.
The auction is divided into three phases. A sealed online auction will run until May 19 and bids can go up to $50,000 — with the company requiring additional identification information and a $10,000 deposit for higher bids. Then, from May 19 onward, Blue Origin will hold a public bidding process — before a final live online auction on June 12, the CNBC reported.
“The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space,” the company said.
The announcement also marks the 60th anniversary of the the first US human spaceflight in 1961, which carried astronaut Alan Shepard — after whom Blue Origin named its rocket system.
“We named our launch vehicle after Alan Shepard to honour his historic flight,” the company said.
Last month, Bezos, who is also the founder of Amazon, tweeted a video teasing tickets for first seats on New Shepard.
The five-storey-tall New Shepard rocket is designed to launch a crew capsule with seats for six roughly 340,000 feet into the sky toward the edge of space. Paying tourists can experience a few minutes of weightlessness in microgravity and witness super high-altitude views of Earth.
New Shepard has flown 15 successful consecutive missions to space and back above the KAirmAin Line through a meticulous and incremental flight programme to test its multiple redundant safety systems.
Bezos’ rival Elon Musk is also expected to launch one of his crewed SpaceX Dragonships later this year.