Blue Origin announced details Wednesday of its first manned flight to space on July 20 aboard the sub-orbital rocket New Shepard.
What Happened: Blue Origin, the space company founded by Amazon.com's AMZN Jeff Bezos, revealed details on a three-step process for people to bid on a seat on the first New Shepard manned flight.
From May 5 to May 19, bidders can bid any amount up to a certain cap. On May 19, bidders will be unsealed and those biddings will have to exceed the current highest amount. On June 12, a live auction will take place to pick the winning bidder.
The winning bid will be donated to Blue Origin’s charitable fund Club For The Future.
The flight will take four minutes to reach its highest point and last around 10 minutes from takeoff to landing.
The winning bidder will be required to take part in three days of training and will need to meet several physical requirements. The winning bidder will need to be able to climb seven flights of stairs in 90 seconds or less.
A height requirement of between 5’0” and 6’4” and a weight requirement of between 110 pounds and 223 pounds will also need to be met by the winning bidder.
“This seat will change how you see the world,” the company said on its website.
Why It’s Important: The New Shepard will feature the largest windows ever flown in space. The craft is pressurized, meaning the crew doesn’t have to wear their own suits during flight. Six passengers can fit in the spacecraft; no details were announced on who the other five people will be on the initial flight.
Blue Origin has completed over 15 uncrewed test missions for the New Shepard including the most recent April 14 launch.
The announcement on May 5 coincided with the 60th anniversary of the first crewed American spaceflight by Alan Shepard. The July 20 launch coincides with the 52nd anniversary of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing.
Blue Origin declined to offer a ticket price amount for future flights down the road, which was widely expected to be unveiled on Wednesday.
The auction process could be closely watched by Blue Origin to see what they could potentially charge for tickets to space in the future. The process will also likely be followed closely by rival Virgin Galactic SPCE who currently charges around $250,000 for a ticket to space with planned flights starting in 2022.
Price Action: Shares of Amazon are down 1% to $3280.50 on Wednesday. Shares of Virgin Galactic are down 4% to $19.95.
Photo by Nasa Flight Opportunities on Flickr
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