In a decision that sounds like it could parallel a comic book villain’s origin story, Jeff Bezos announced that he will be one of the first people to take a trip to space as a tourist. He will be riding on a rocket built by his space company Blue Origin, and is taking along his brother—along with a highest bidder.
“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,” wrote Bezos on his Instagram post.
In early February, Bezos officially stepped down as Amazon’s CEO. He is instead Amazon’s executive chairman—a move he said would give him “time and energy” to focus on his other ventures.
The billionaire will be bringing his “best friend” and brother, Mark Bezos, for this first tourist spaceflight. The brothers will be making the spaceflight on the Blue Shepard—Blue Origin’s reusable rocket named after Alan Shepard, the first American to fly to space.
The rocket won’t stray too far in space or orbit the Earth like Space X’s Crew Dragon. It will blast itself to the Kármán line—100 kilometers above sea level, allowing passengers inside to view the curvature of the earth and experience weightlessness.
The rocket will be fully autonomous, meaning no pilots will be on board the Blue Shepard, with a flight-time that will total just 11 minutes. The booster itself is topped by a gumdrop-shaped Crew Capsule with space for six passengers inside and large windows—which results in a look that some people might find funny.
Blue Origin is also opening a third seat up to join the Bezos brothers in an open auction. The current highest bid is a whopping USD 3.5 million (RM14.4 million), and the auction will end of 12 June 2021. The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future. The spaceflight itself will happen on 20 July 2021.