Bidding to be the first paying customer, on Blue Origin’s New Shephard rocket topped $3 million on Monday, flying alongside company founder Jeff Bezos and his brother.
According to the company’s website, the highest bid to ride on the July 20 flight is $3.2 million, up from $2.8 million in late May.
The identity of the top bidder is not yet known and will not be known until bidding has stopped on June 12, concluding with a live auction.
Bidders need to raise their bid limit by June 10 5PM EST to be a part of the June 12 auction.
The highest bid to ride Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is now $3.2 million, up from $2.8 million at the end of May
Bidding ends on June 12, with a live auction. Bidders must raise their bid limit by June 10 5PM EST to be a part of the June 12 auction
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A company spokesperson told DailyMail.com on Monday it had no further updates to share regarding the number of bidders or where they were from.
DailyMail.com had previously reported there were more than 5,200 bidders from 136 countries.
The new bid comes just hours after Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos announced that he and his brother, Mark a former advertising executive and volunteer firefighter, will be on the New Shepard spacecraft when it flies next month, coinciding with the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Blue Origin, founded in 2000, touts itself as means to provide cheaper access to space through the use of reusable rockets- specifically the New Shepard that has flown 15 times already
The two Bezos brothers – seen here in a video posted to Jeff’s Instagram – will be part of a crew of six on New Shepard
‘Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,’ Bezos posted to his Instagram account where he announced he would fly to space.
‘On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.’
The other three passengers on the New Shephard flight are Sian Proctor, a community college educator in Arizona, Chris Sembroski, a former Air Force missileman from Washington, and Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee
The six passengers will spend at least 10 minutes floating in zero gravity inside the capsule during the suborbital sightseeing trip.
Blue Origin named the New Shepard program after astronaut Alan Shepard, who was the first American to fly into space exactly 60 years ago.
Washington state-based Blue Origin is largely self funded by Bezos, who has been selling over $1 billion worth of stock in Amazon per year to fund the company.
In sending tourists to space, Bezos has beaten Richard Branson and Elon Musk and their firms, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX to the punch.
While Musk is yet to comment on the news, Branson has congratulated Bezos, describing how their two firms are ‘opening up access to space.’
He tweeted: ‘ Many congratulations to @jeffbezos & his brother Mark on announcing spaceflight plans. Jeff started building Blue Origin in 2000, we started building Virgin Galactic in 2004 & now both are opening up access to Space – how extraordinary! Watch this space…’
While Musk is yet to comment on the news, Branson has congratulated Bezos, describing how their two firms are ‘opening up access to space’
All three firms have also competed for both media attention and contracts in the space tourism industry.
Blue Origin, founded in 2000, touts itself as means to provide cheaper access to space through the use of reusable rockets, specifically the New Shepard that has flown 15 times.
The rocket’s sole mission is to take tourists to space, who would travel inside a sleek, white capsule atop the vehicle.
The capsule is designed with the iconic Blue Origin feather across the exterior and inside are six reclining seats that mirror those inside a helicopter.
Blue Origin’s plans are to send tourists 62 miles above Earth’s surface and spend at least 10 minutes in orbit.
At this altitude, passengers will experience weightlessness due to the zero gravity and see the curve of the planet with the darkness of space as the backdrop.
Blue Origin also recently conducted its first astronaut rehearsal in preparation for sending the first manned New Shepard into space.
The mock crew traveled the designated path of future spacefaring tourists, which included traveling to the launch pad and climbing up the tower to the passenger capsule.
While celebrities and the uber-rich appear to be a core market for space tourist jaunts, at least initially, industry sources expect Blue Origin to include some philanthropic component to its ticket strategy.
The idea of sending paying customers to the edge of space was once only a plot in science fiction films, but many companies other than Blue Origin are turning the epic journey into a reality.
A college science professor and an aerospace data analyst are among a four-member crew for a launch into orbit planned later this year by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, part of a charity drive billed as the first all-civilian spaceflight in history.
Virgin Galactic also aims to fly private customers in early 2022, after a first flight with Branson on board later this year.
Its zero-gravity experience is anchored by its SpaceShipTwo plane, and the company has ambitious plans to offer point-to-point travel between far-flung cities at near-space altitudes.
Virgin says it will charge more than $250,000 for new reservations but has not announced final pricing. Sales will reopen following Branson’s flight.
THE BILLIONAIRE SPACE RACE
Jeff Bezos in front of Blue Origin’s space capsule
Jeff Bezos’ space tourism project with Blue Origin is competing with a similar programme in development by Space X, the rocket firm founded and run by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Virgin Galactic, backed by Richard Branson.
Bezos revealed in April 2017 that he finances Blue Origin with around $1 billion (£720 million) of Amazon stock each year.
The system consists of a pressurised crew capsule atop a reusable ‘New Shepard’ booster rocket.
Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world and Blue Origin has successfully used a single New Shepard Rocket six times.
At its peak, the capsule reached 65 miles (104 kilometres), just above the official threshold for space and landed vertically seven minutes after liftoff.
Crewed missions for astronauts or tourists have yet to be announced.
SpaceX appears to be leading the way in the billionaire space race with numerous launches carrying NASA equipment to the ISS and partnerships to send tourists to space by 2021.
On February 6 2018, SpaceX sent rocket towards the orbit of Mars, 140 million miles away, with Musk’s own red Tesla roadster attached.
Elon Musk with his Dragon Crew capsule
NASA has already selected two astronauts who will be on-board the first manned Dragon mission.
SpaceX has also started sending batches of 60 satellites into space to help form its Starlink network.
Musk hopes this will provide an interconnected web of satellites around Earth which will beam down free internet to people all around the world.
Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic are taking a different approach to conquering space.
It has repeatedly, and successfully, conducted test flights of the Virgin Galactic’s Unity spaceplane.
The first took place in December 2018 and the latest took place on February 22nd.
The flight accelerated to over 2,000 miles per hour (Mach 2.7).
More than 600 affluent customers to date, including celebrities Brad Pitt and Katy Perry, have reserved a $250,000 (£200,000) seat on one of Virgin’s space trips,
The billionaire mogul has previously said he expects Elon Musk to win the race to Mars with his private rocket firm SpaceX.
Richard Branson with the Virgin Galactic craft
SpaceShipTwo can carry six passengers and two pilots. Each passenger gets the same seating position with two large windows – one to the side and one overhead.
The space ship is 60ft long with a 90inch diameter cabin allowing maximum room for the astronauts to float in zero gravity.
It climbs to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier craft, White Knight II, once it’s passed the 50-mile mark.
Passengers become ‘astronauts’ when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere.
The spaceship will then make a sub-orbital journey with approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 1.5 hours.