First passenger seat on Blue Origin's New Shepard sells for $28 million
The first paying seat on Blue Origin's initial New Shepard passenger flight into space has sold at auction for an eye-watering US$28 million. The telephone auction of qualified bidders was conducted on June 12 by RR Auction in Boston, Massachusetts and involved 7,600 bidders from 159 countries.
Saturday's rapid-paced bidding lasted only about five minutes and was the last phase in a three-step auction process that began with the collection of closed bids, the highest of which was $1.4 million when bidding ended on May 19, 2021. This formed the minimum bid for the next phase, which was conducted online until June 10 and brought the price up to US$4.8 million.
According to a Blue Origin spokesperson, the number of bidders was so large the size of the phone bank had to be tripled to handle the traffic.
The winner of the auction will be one of four passengers aboard the Reusable Space Ship First Step crew capsule, which will be launched atop the New Shepard booster on July 20, 2021. It will go on a 10-minute suborbital flight to an altitude of over 62 miles (100 km) from the company's Launch Site One in West Texas.
The other three passengers will include Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, and a fourth, who has yet to be named. The identity of the winning bidder is being withheld pending the signing of various legal documents. The proceeds of the auction will go to Blue Origin's Club for the Future, which encourages young people to enter STEM professions.
A replay of the auction can be seen below.
Source: Blue Origin