People bid over $2mn for first ride on Blue Origin’s spaceship


People are bidding as high as $2.8 million for a 10-minute experience on Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s aerospace company Blue Origin’s space tourism mission New Shepard, the media reported.

A single-seat aboard the New Shepard crew capsule, dubbed the RSS First Step Crew Capsule, went up for auction earlier this month, starting with a sealed bidding round that drew “more than 5,200 bidders from 136 countries,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

By Wednesday morning, when the auction’s open-bidding phase began, the highest bid was revealed: $1.4 million. It rose to $2.8 million by the afternoon, the Verge reported.

RSS First Step, a gumdrop-shaped pod with seats for six, will fly its inaugural crew in the next six months, with one seat reserved for the winning bidder and the rest for company-selected passengers. Proceeds from the auction will go to Blue Origin’s philanthropy, Club for the Future, the report said.

The company has not yet revealed the ticket price for a seat.

“Let’s say, the most active bidders, they’re gonna be very clear on our radar, so when we do go to open up those tickets, we’ll know who to go to contact,” Ariane Cornell, Blue Origin’s astronaut sales director, said earlier this month.

The open-bidding phase for New Shepard’s seat closes on June 10 and enters a live, online auction round on June 12.

“Participants must raise their bid limit by June 10 at 5 p.m. EDT to participate in the June 12 live auction,” a Blue Origin spokeswoman was quoted as saying by the Verge.

The highest bid price is updated live on the company’s homepage. The number increases in increments of 10 per cent, according to a person working at RR Auction Company, the Boston, Massachusetts-based firm managing the auction for Blue Origin.

The space company has test flown New Shepard 15 times so far without people on board, with the most recent flight serving as “a verification step for the vehicle and operations prior to flying astronauts.”

After this debut crewed mission in the coming months, more will follow, the company has said. From a desert in Texas, Blue Origin’s reusable 60-foot-tall New Shepard booster will launch the capsule roughly 65 miles into the sky past the Karman Line, the internationally recognized boundary of Earth’s outermost atmosphere.