Blue Origin announced on Monday that founder Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark will join the winner of an auction on the first crewed suborbital flight of the company’s New Shepard vehicle from west Texas on July 20.
The fully reusable rocket and capsule system has flown 15 suborbital flight tests without anyone aboard with a record of 14 successes and one partial failure. The latter came on the systems’ first flight when the rocket crashed during descent after separation from the crew capsule. The capsule on that flight landed safety under three parachutes. New Shepard’s rocket stages successfully landed on the other 14 flight tests.
The auction for the open seat began on May 5; it will conclude with live bidding on Saturday, June 12. The current high bid is $2.8 million. Anyone interested in bidding must register online by June 10. Blue Origin said nearly 6,000 people have placed bids from 143 countries.
Money raised will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help invent the future of life in space.