Blue Origin’s $28 million ticket to space
Sold! For $28 million
How would you spend $28 million (USD), if you had it on hand? Perhaps you’d become the highest bidder for an 11-minute ride to space. That happened this weekend, on Saturday, June 12, 2021, when a yet-unnamed individual offered the highest bid for a ticket to space and a seat on the New Shepard – Blue Origin’s suborbital launch rocket – alongside the private spaceflight company’s founder, Jeff Bezos. Blue Origin’s online live auction for the ticket to space followed a two-week long competition for the seat. The winner will join Bezos and his brother Mark, plus another yet-to-be-named passenger, in a trip beyond Earth’s atmosphere scheduled for launch on July 20.
The bidding, which lasted less than seven minutes, was live-streamed on Blue Origin’s website on June 12. In total, the seat cost the bidder $29,680,000, which includes a 6% buyer’s premium.
How exciting was that!? $28 million! The whole Blue Origin team cannot wait to meet our first customer.
Month-long bid for a ticket to space
Blue Origin initially opened the auction to private bidders beginning May 5. Blue Origin reported that nearly 7,600 people from 159 nations registered for the auction. For any planned bids above $50,000, bidders had to deposit $10,000. The first day of the public online event, May 19, ended at $2.8 million. When Bezos announced on June 7 that he and his brother would come along on the space flight, the bid rose to $4.8 million. And during Saturday’s live auction, the number stopped at $28 million.
The winning bid amount will be donated to Club for the Future, which is Blue Origin’s own nonprofit organization for Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. The nonprofit has been operating for more than two years and is open to educators, parents, and young students, designed to integrate educational lessons with Blue Origin missions.
The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, @clubforfuture, to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space. #GradatimFerociter pic.twitter.com/mskDvn0ULa
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) June 11, 2021
So, who will fly?
The identities of the auction winner and the anonymous passenger will be announced at a later date, Blue Origin has said. What’s known at this time is that there are requirements for age, height, weight and … speed! Older than 18 years of age, they must be between five feet to six feet and four inches (152 – 193 cm) tall, and weigh between 110 – 223 pounds (50 – 101 kg). Furthermore, they will need to climb New Shepard’s launch tower – that’s seven flights of stairs – in 90 seconds or less.
The passenger must also be able to sustain 3G – three times the force of gravity – for times up to two minutes and follow instructions by radio contact or visual cues. After they’ve signed a liability waiver, performed some basic training, and met these physical standards, Blue Origin will assess their ability to fly.
The flight’s ascent from Earth will last 2 minutes and 45 seconds. At 220,000 feet (67 km), the crew capsule will separate from the rocket and continue up to a flight level of 328,000 feet (100 km). Then the trip back to Earth commences, finalizing the trip that will last 10-12 minutes in total. It will land, using parachutes, near where the New Shepard launched at Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in Texas.
The July 20 flight will be the rocket’s 16th flight; the 15 to come before it have been un-crewed test flights. It will also be the third use of the capsule, called the RSS (Reusable Space Ship) First Step. The price for future seats aboard New Shepard hasn’t been shared. But according to Space.com, the top bidders who did not win the auction will be among the first to have access to future seats.
Bottom line: On June 12, 2021, Blue Origin concluded a live auction for a ticket to space. The unnamed winner will join Jeff Bezos and his brother, plus another yet-to-be-named passenger, in a New Shepard rocket beyond Earth’s atmosphere scheduled for launch on July 20.