The auction for a trip to space next month with Jeff Bezos and his brother ended Saturday with a winning bid of $28 million.
The rocket company Blue Origin The founder of Amazon did not reveal the name of the winner at the end of the auction broadcast live on the Internet. The identity will be released in two weeks — closer to the brief up-and-down flight from west of Texas on July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the moon landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
It will be the first manned launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, kicking off the company’s space tourism business. Fifteen previous test flights of the reusable rocket and capsule since 2015 – small jumps lasting about 10 minutes – were successful.
Saturday’s auction came after more than a month of online bids that hit $4.8 million on Friday. More than 7,500 people from 159 countries signed up to bid, according to Blue Origin. More than 20 people – those who bet big – participated in Saturday’s auction.
Bezos announced Monday that he and his younger brother, Mark, would be aboard the New Shepard’s first manned flight; The news quickly boosted the stakes. The winning amount will be donated to the Blue Origin Club for the Future, an educational effort to promote science and technology among young people.
The fully automated capsule accommodates up to six passengers, each with a large window. Blue Origin sales director Ariane Cornell said after the auction that the fourth and final place in the manned launch flight will be announced soon.
Blue Origin is not yet selling tickets to the public or releasing prices.