The Amazon founder and billionaire will ride his own rocket into space, joining the first crew to fly in a Blue Origin capsule. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother,” he wrote in the Instagram post. “The greatest adventure, with my best friend.” The third seat will be decided after a charity auction.
When you’re a billionaire, you can afford to have some out there hobbies — and when it comes to out there hobbies, going to space is pretty high on the list.
“To see the Earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one Earth,” Bezos, 57, said in an Instagram post. “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.”
It’s bound to be a short flight — a 10-minute up-and-down trip, with just three minutes of weightlessness — but it’s still outer space. The capsule can hold six people, and each seat has its own big window.
Blue Origin, Bezos’ company, successfully completed its 15th test flight with the reusable New Shepard rocket two months ago. The capsule reached an altitude of 66 miles (106 kilometers) without any unforeseen events. The company’s launch and landing site is in west Texas, fairly close to the Mexican border.
The flight will officially kick off Blue Origin’s space tourism business. Although the company hasn’t yet released details about how one could book tickets (and how much it would cost), there are speculations that the announcements will be coming soon. For now, bidding for a third seat in the shuttle has reached $2.8 million, and the auction still has until 12 June. The company hasn’t said anything about who might occupy the remaining three seats on the debut passenger flight.
Bezos is soon stepping down as Amazon’s CEO — on July 5, just 15 days before liftoff. The move will allow Bezos to spend more time working on his space company, as well as his newspaper The Washington Post.
But Bezos has his work cut out for him in terms of space competition. In addition to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which has been making headlines for years, Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson also plans to jump aboard his own rocket this year, kickstarting Virgin’s space travel business. Blue Origin was founded 21 years ago but it operated without making too many waves, until a couple of years ago.
However, with Bezos taking a step back at Amazon, we can likely expect bigger things with Blue Origin.