Blue Origin auctions first seat on crewed space flight for $28 million

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Bidding for the first passenger seat on a manned mission to the edge of space reached $28 million at a live auction on Saturday. (Blue Origin via AP)

(NEXSTAR) – A seat on Blue Origin’s first crewed mission to the edge of space sold for $28 million at auction on Saturday.

The winner will soon join Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark on the New Shepard when it lifts off from West Texas on July 20.

“The whole Blue Origin team cannot wait to meet our first customer,” said Ariane Cornell, Blue Origin’s astronaut sales director, following the auction. “They’re going to join Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark on this historic human flight on New Shepherd in just five weeks… It is going to be the experience of a lifetime.”

Bidding for the third seat on New Shepard began with an online auction on May 5. Saturday’s subsequent live auction opened at $4.8 million, with competing bidders driving the price to $28 million within five minutes. The winning bidder will also be paying a 6% buyer’s premium, in addition to the $28 million.

Blue Origin has yet to name the winning bidder, but will reveal the soon-to-be-astronaut’s identity in the weeks following the auction’s conclusion. A fourth and final crew member will also be announced “soon,” according to Cornell.

Proceeds from the sale of the seat will be donated to Blue Origin’s Club for the Future foundation, which aims to inspire kids to pursue science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) careers.

When it lifts off on July 20, Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle will carry a capsule containing the astronauts toward space. The capsule will then separate from the launch vehicle and travel above the  Kármán Line (100 kilometers above mean sea level) for a period of weightlessness before reentry to Earth. The entire trip will take around 10 minutes.

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