Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will join the winner of a competition on Blue Origin’s first human spaceflight, with 20 July the target launchdate.
Writing on Instagram, the world’s richest man said that he and his brother Mark would join the winner of an auction on New Shepard’s first suborbital sightseeing trip.
Bidding for the final seat is now underway, Blue Origin said this morning, and will conclude in a live online auction on 12 June.
Those who wish to take part must register their interest before 10 June.
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.
The current highest bid stood at $2.8m in the ongoing second round of auction, according to Blue Origin’s website.
“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.
Blue Origin’s debut manned spaceflight marks yet another key moment in the race to commercialise spaceflight, in which Bezos’ firm has gone up against fellow billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX, as well as Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
New Shepard, the name of which references Alan Shepard, the first American to go into space, has been in uncrewed flight testing since 2015.
“New Shepard has flown 15 successful consecutive missions to space and back above the Kármán Line through a meticulous and incremental flight program to test its multiple redundant safety systems. Now, it’s time for astronauts to climb onboard”, Blue Origin said.