Blue Origin, based in Washington, launched an auction Wednesday for a spot on its first crewed flight to the edge of space in July.
The New Shepard suborbital space tourism rocket is set to launch from the company’s spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, approximately 120 miles south-east of El Paso, on July 20.
Blue Origin, which is owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, stated that the sale is open to the public, with locked online bidding continuing until May 19. Bids will then be visible and must surpass the highest bid in order to proceed in the auction.
There will be a June 12 live, online auction to conclude the bidding process and determine a winner.
“The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space,” the company announced.
The launch of the auction on Wednesday coincides with the 60th anniversary of Alan Shepard’s first flight into space. The New Shepard rocket is named for astronaut Alan Shepard, who became the first person to walk on the moon in 1971.
Many who want to bid on a Blue Origin seat must meet some physical standards, including weighing between 110 and 223 pounds and standing between 5 and 6 feet, 4 inches tall. They must also be able to tolerate up to 3 Gs of climb and 5.5 Gs of descent.
Blue Origin in April carried out what was expected to be its last test flight for the New Shepard rocket before carrying people. The goal is to allow true space tourism for anyone, said Kevin Sproge, Blue Origin’s director of space architecture for New Shepard.
“You don’t need to be a NASA astronaut, you don’t need to be a trained engineer, we want artists and poets, teachers and scientists,” he said.
According to the company, the New Shepard capsule has improved acoustics to dampen the roar during flight, better interior temperature control, crew view screens, and speakers with a microphone and push-to-talk button at each seat.
Dennis Tito, a California businessman, paid Russia’s space agency $20 million to become the first tourist in space in 2001. The organisation sent the millionaire to the International Space Station and then returned him to Earth.