On July 20, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will be launched into space in the first crewed spaceflight of his company Blue Origin. Joining him on the monumental voyage will be his brother Mark, and one remaining crew member, who has now been decided through a massive online auction.
After drawing attention from daredevil millionaires and billionaires across the globe, the one-month bidding frenzy has finally settled and the unidentified space enthusiast's winning bid of $28 million to join the high-profile flight has been announced. The money will be donated to Blue Origin's foundation Club For The Future, which inspires future generations to pursure careers in STEM.
The Blue Origin suborbital reusable rocket New Shepard will take the three passengers 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the Earth’s surface, accelerating to a pretty uncomfortable 3 Gs over the 10 minutes it takes to reach space. Once there, the passengers will unbuckle and enjoy the surreal experience of weightlessness for 3 minutes, before returning to their seats and re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. A deployable parachute will allow the capsule to touchdown in the West Texas Desert.
Ever the competitive types, another billionaire may have something to say about it. Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson is rumored to be stealing the spotlight from under New Shepard’s nose, with a Virgin Galactic flight carrying Branson speculated for the July 4 weekend. This suborbital flight would carry the crew aboard the VSS Unity up into space and past the Kármán line (the point in which the altitude becomes 'space'), despite the Unity reaching space only once out of three attempts previously.
And Elon Musk? Well, so far the winning bidder has not been revealed. It would make an interesting plot twist if Musk ended up joining Bezos on New Shepherd's trip to space.