This time next month, Jeff Bezos will be getting ready to go to space aboard one of his Blue Origin rockets — and he most certainly won't be alone. Saturday morning, the private space company auctioned off a seat on Blue Origin's New Shepard, with the winning bid going to an anonymous buyer for $28 million. With the auction house's buyer's premium, the total payment for the seat ended up fetching $29.7 million. The cash prize will be donated to Club for the Future, a STEM-based non-profit foundation operated by Blue Origin.
"How exciting was that! $28 million!" Blue Origin's Ariane Cornell said after the auction took place. "The whole Blue Origin team cannot wait to meet our first customer."
Blue Origin isn't expected to immediately unveil the identity of the buyer, who will join Bezos, his brother Mark, and one more passenger on the New Shephard come launch-time on July 20th. The flight is expected to last between 10 to 12 minutes and will take the four passengers past the Karman line, the internationally recognized boundary separating Earth's atmosphere and space. After its flight to space, the vessel will then deploy parachutes that will guide the capsule back to Earth.
"If you see the earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It's one earth," Bezos said in an Instagram post announcing his presence earlier this month. I want to go on this flight because it's a thing I've wanted to do all my life, it's an adventure, it's a big deal for me. I invited my brother to come on this first flight because we're the closest friends."
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Mark Bezos added, "I wasn't even expecting him to say that he was going ot be on the first flight and then when he asked me to go along I was just awe-struck. What a remarkable opportunity not only to have this adventure but to be able to do it with my best friend."
Cover photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images