Unidentified Bidder Spends $28M in Auction to Join Jeff Bezos' Forthcoming Flight into Space
The high bidder from the auction will be revealed in the weeks to come before Jeff and brother Mark Bezos' July 20 trip
An auction for a trip to space alongside Jeff Bezos and his brother in July ended with a winning bid of $28 million.
On Saturday, Blue Origin - the aerospace manufacturing and spaceflight company founded by the Amazon billionaire, 57, in 2000 - announced that a seat on a spacecraft, named New Shepard, was officially purchased during an online auction.
Roughly 7,600 people from 159 countries registered to bid on the forthcoming trip, Blue Origin said. The winning bid amount is now set to be donated to Club for the Future, which is Blue Origin's foundation that encourages STEM careers "to help invent the future of life in space."
The high bidder from the auction, as well as a fourth passenger, will be revealed in the weeks to come, Blue Origin added. Though the capsule can take on six passengers total, this trip will be limited to four, per NBC News.
"What a day," Ariane Cornell, the director of astronaut and orbital sales at Blue Origin, exclaimed after the auction closed. "The whole Blue Origin team cannot wait to meet our first customer."
The auction went live on Saturday after a month of online bidding, the Associated Press reported.
Starting at $4.8 million, the bidding slowly got higher and higher for the first two minutes before it reached $10 million, per CBS News. Then, in the third minute, the amount doubled to $20 million, the outlet said. It then took less than six minutes to reach the final bid.
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"Going three times ... and that is sold! Twenty-eight million dollars to number 107!" auctioneer Steve Little announced during the event, per CBS News.
A 6% fee was added to the winning bid, the outlet added, and some of the other big bidders in the auction will now be contacted about potential future flights, The New York Post reported.
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Earlier this month, Blue Origin first announced that Bezos and his brother Mark Bezos would be preparing to fly to space on July 20 on the New Shepard flight.
"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. The greatest adventure, with my best friend. #GradatimFerociter," Bezos wrote on Instagram at the time, sharing a video for the announcement.
In the video, Bezos said going on the trip is "a big deal for me." Speaking with his brother and inviting him on the flight, he said, "I think it would be meaningful, have my brother there."
Mark, 53, said he was "awestruck" by the invitation but jumped at the opportunity.
According to the official website, the New Shepard is "fully autonomous," as there is no pilot and everyone is a passenger. The reusable vehicle takes 11-minute flights into space, "designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line - the internationally recognized boundary of space."