Space travel is slowly becoming a reality. In the latest, Blue Origin, billionaire Jeff Bezos’ space venture company announced the launch of its first astronaut crew to space on July 20. Flying on its space tourism rocket called New Shepard spacecraft, it comes as a landmark moment in the league of a new era of private commercial space travel.
The ticket sales and the release pricing information about the New Shepard flight is yet to be announced. Furthermore, it will host a public auction for a seat on the first crewed launch.
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.
“We’re auctioning off the first seat to benefit our foundation Club for the Future,” a Blue Origin video said.
Blue Origin has designed New Shepard to carry as many as six people at a time on a ride past the edge of space, with the capsules on previous test flights reaching an altitude of more than 340,000 feet (or more than 100 kilometers). The capsule has massive windows to give passengers a view, spending a few minutes in zero gravity before returning to Earth.
The company has yet to fly New Shepard with passengers on board. Blue Origin has test flown the rocket and capsule more than a dozen times to date without crew, including a test flight last month at the company’s facility in the Texas desert.