Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has announced that he and his brother younger Mark Bezos will be flying to space on board the first crewed flight that will be operated by Blue Origin, the aerospace company that Bezos founded in 2000.
“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,” Bezos announced on an Instagram post.
Scheduled for lift-off on July 20, the flight will be on board Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket ship, which has been in testing since 2015. Blue Origin boasted the rocket ship has since 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”.
If it all goes according to plan, Bezos will be the first space tycoon to experience a private ride into space, outpacing Elon Musk and Richard Branson, who have also been pouring millions into their respective aerospace companies, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, to be able to claim the crown of being the first to actually travel into space.
The Bezos brothers will also be joined by one winning bidder of a live online auction due to take place on June 10 at 5pm EDT. Online bidding has already commenced and has so far reached $2.8 million with nearly 6,000 participants from 143 countries, Blue Origin said.
The company added that the winning amount would be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, to “inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help invent the future of life in space”.
Bezos is due to step down as Amazon chief in Q3 and move into the role of executive chair where he will focus on strategic issues, such as mergers and acquisitions. The top spot will then be handed to Amazon Web Services leader Andy Jassy.