Jeff Bezos is going to space! The billionaire founder and CEO of Amazon posted a video on Instagram announcing that will be blasting off into space on the first crewed flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket ship. Scheduled to lift off from West Texas on July 20, he’ll be accompanied by his brother Mark Bezos on the space flight along with the winner of an auction being held for one of the seats. The highest bid for the civilian ticket was $2.8 million when Bezos announced his plans, but it went up to $3.2 million shortly after the video was posted. “I want to go on this flight because it’s the thing I’ve wanted to do all my life,” Bezos said in a video posted to his Instagram. July 20 will also mark the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which makes it even more special for the first crewed flight of Blue Origin. The billionaire is also officially set to leave his current post as the chief executive of Amazon just two weeks before the scheduled take-off.
Blue Origin was founded by Bezos in 2000 and the majority of funding to support technology development and operations of the company has come from the billionaire’s private investment. The company has been flight testing New Shepard since 2012 and has successfully completed over a dozen unmanned flights from its facility in rural Texas, about 70 miles from Marfa. The rocket carrying the Bezos brothers aboard a capsule won’t be traveling into outer space. New Shepard is capable of suborbital flights that can reach an altitude of around 350,000ft. The flight will last for about 11 minutes during which the passengers inside the capsule will get to spend a few minutes in zero gravity and witness breathtaking views before returning to Earth. If everything goes to plan, Jeff Bezos will beat both Elon Musk and Richard Branson to be the first billionaire to go to space in a rocket by their respective spaceflight companies.
Many congratulations to @JeffBezos & his brother Mark on announcing spaceflight plans. Jeff started building @blueorigin in 2000, we started building @virgingalactic in 2004 & now both are opening up access to Space – how extraordinary! Watch this space…
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) June 7, 2021