Blue Origin: Bidder pays $28 million to visit space with Jeff Bezos | News | DW | 13.06.2021

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Blue Origin: Bidder pays $28 million to visit space with Jeff Bezos

Bezos, the owner of the Blue Origin space travel company, will venture beyond Earth's atmosphere on the New Shepard spacecraft next month.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos

Amazon executive Jeff Bezos, the richest man on the planet, believes his journey into space will be a life-changing experience

An unidentified bidder on Saturday shelled out $28 million (€23 million) for a chance to visit space with Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos next month. 

Bezos, the owner of the Blue Origin space travel company, will voyage beyond Earth's atmosphere for about 11 minutes on the New Shephard spacecraft next month. 

Why did the bidding for the trip take place?

Blue Origin held an online auction for one person to join Bezos on the trip, which ended a month-long bidding process.

The proceeds of the auction will go to charity, with the winner's identity being disclosed to the public in the coming weeks. 

Bezos' brother, Mark, will also join the flight. Bezos said he believes the space voyage on July 20 will be life-altering. 

"To see the earth from space, changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity," he said in a video before the final bidding on the trip.

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The New Shepard rocket will launch from a desert in West Texas next month. The spacecraft has previously lifted off 15 times without passengers. 

What is the broader significance of the space voyage?

The New Shepard's trip is considered major advertisement for the future of privatized space travel.

Bezo's Blue Origin is competing with Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic in the private space exploration field. 

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Bezos is the richest man in the world, with his wealth having soared during the coronavirus pandemic. The Amazon founder has a net worth of $190 billion (€157 billion), according to US business magazine Forbes.

Bezos said earlier this year he will step down as Amazon CEO on July 5 to focus on Blue Origin and other projects. He will then become Amazon's executive chairman.

wd/wmr (Reuters, AFP)