Founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos has announced that he and his brother Mark Bezos will be aboard the first crewed space flight from his rocket company Blue Origin next month.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother,” Jeff Bezos said in an Instagram post.
Bezos is due to step down as Amazon’s CEO on July 5.
Bezos and fellow billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson have been investing billions of dollars on their rocket startups. However, Bezos will be the first of the three to actually travel into space on a rocket developed by his own company.
The Blue Origin spacecraft, which will carry Bezos and others, has undergone 15 test flights, none of which had any passengers onboard.
Blue Origin closed the first round of the auction for a seat on the spacecraft last month. The company received more than 5,200 bidders from 136 countries. It did not disclose the highest bid from the round.
The current highest bid stood at $2.8 million in the ongoing second round of auction, according to Blue Origin’s website.
Its New Shepard rocket-and-capsule combo is designed to autonomously fly six passengers more than 62 miles above Earth into suborbital space. That is high enough to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the planet before the pressurized capsule returns to earth under parachutes.
The capsule features six observation windows. They are nearly three times as tall as those on a Boeing 747 jetliner and the largest ever used in space, Blue Origin said.
The company was planning to charge passengers at least $200,000 for the ride, based on an appraisal of rival plans from Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (SPCE.N) and other considerations, according to a Reuters report from 2018.
Global insurers are still in the early stages of covering liabilities during space travel. Life insurers do not ask about space tourism nor do they exclude it from their coverage.
Blue Origin closed the first round of the auction last month and said it had received more than 5,200 bidders from 136 countries, without disclosing the highest bid from the round.
“You will sign this waiver of liability and provided there’s no gross negligence or willful misconduct, if you don’t survive, unfortunately, there’s probably no financial recovery,” said Richard Parker of Assure Space, a unit of insurer AmTrust Financial.