Highest bid for Blue Origin's maiden voyage $2.6 million and climbing
by AFP Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 19, 2021
An online bid for a seat aboard Blue Origin's first crewed spaceflight was going for $2.6 million on Wednesday afternoon as the company prepares to blast off this summer.
Would-be customers have until June 10 before the current phase ends, and the company will hold a live final round on June 12, with the proceeds going to the company's charitable foundation.
Jeff Bezos' space venture is targeting July 20 for the launch of its reusable suborbital rocket system New Shepard from its facility in west Texas.
It will be the first time the company, founded in 2000, will carry humans after 15 successful uncrewed tests of the vehicle.
The trip will last a total of ten minutes, four of which passengers will spend above the Karman line that marks the recognized boundary between Earth's atmosphere and space.
After lift-off, the capsule separates from its booster, then spends four minutes at an altitude exceeding 60 miles (100 kilometers), during which time up to six people on board experience weightlessness and can observe the curvature of Earth from space.
The booster lands autonomously on a pad two miles from the launch site, and the capsule floats back to the surface with three large parachutes that slow it down to about a mile an hour when it lands.
The auction began with sealed bidding on May 5, with the first unsealed bid posted Wednesday morning, $1.4 million.
The figure is being updated as it climbs, and a spokesperson for the company said that more than 5,200 people from 136 countries had participated.
Virgin Galactic, the company founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, is also developing a spacecraft capable of sending clients on suborbital flights. Some 600 people have booked flights, costing $200,000 to $250,000.
Elon Musk's SpaceX is planning orbital flights that would cost millions of dollars and send people much further into space.
Want to become a space tourist
Canberra, Australia (SPX) May 11, 2021
Billionaire Jeff Bezos's space launch company Blue Origin has announced it will sell its first flights into microgravity to the highest bidder. Blue Origin and its two greatest competitors in the "space tourism" field, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, claim to be advancing humanity through the "democratisation" of space. But these joyrides aren't opening up access to space for all. At face value, the prospect of a space tourism industry is exciting. It promises an easier path to space than ... read more
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