Blue Origin opens bidding for seat on its first crewed flight to space
Blue Origin has opened the first round of bidding for the first passenger seat on its suborbital New Shepard reusable, Vertical Takeoff, Vertical Landing (VTVL) space vehicle, which is scheduled to fly on July 20, 2021.
Though the four New Shepard rockets have flown 15 times since 2015, none of the missions have carried an astronaut. Instead, Blue Origin has concentrated on flight testing and carrying NASA payloads on straight up, straight down suborbital flights into space, reaching an altitude of more than 62 miles (100 km).
Having completed an uncrewed astronaut rehearsal flight on April 14, from the company's Launch Site One in West Texas, Blue Origin is now taking bids for the first passenger seats aboard the autonomous crew capsule. These closed bids, where the amounts are kept secret, will run from May 5 to May 19, 2021. On May 19, the bidding will be revealed, and a fresh round where bids must exceed the highest revealed closed bid to go on to a live online auction on June 12, which will determine the winner.
Blue Origin says the proceeds from the bidding will be donated to its Club for the Future, which is tasked with inspiring young people to enter the STEM field with a particular emphasis on space.
The announcement was timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Mercury Redstone 3 mission, which sent US astronaut Alan Shepard into space in 1961, and the first flight will be on the anniversary of the landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon in 1969.
If you're interested in putting in a bid, go to blueorigin.com. We suspect you'll need deep pockets.
Source: Blue Origin