There’s something of a semi-invisible space race going on among the absolute wealthiest of the world’s elite. Powerful CEOs like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson have been competing to see who could get a commercial grade space tourism industry off the ground first (pun unintended). SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic all have commercial launches lined up, but it seems Blue Origin will be the first out the gate, with its own head aboard its maiden voyage.
Jeff Bezos announced on his Instagram today that he will be part of the crew for the first voyage of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket capsule. The flight is scheduled to take off next month on July 20, shortly after Bezos plans to formally retire as CEO of Amazon. He’ll be joined by a crew of five other passengers, including his own younger brother, Mark Bezos.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos said. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
“To see the Earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one Earth,” Bezos added. “I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.”
Jeff Bezos is heading to space. The Amazon founder and CEO says he will be aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft for its first human flight next month.https://t.co/vraDsPISuP
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 7, 2021
The New Shepard is planned to reach the very edge of the Earth’s atmosphere, 60 miles above the surface, in a short, 11-minute flight. Assuming this first flight is a success, this will be the starting flag for Blue Origin to begin selling seats on space tours in earnest. It isn’t known yet how much a ticket on one of these vessels will cost an average Joe, though there is an auction going on right now for one of those coveted seats. As of this morning, that auction is up to $2.8 million, so hopefully it’ll be less than that.