Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is offering up one seat on the inaugural flight of its sub-orbital rocket New Shepard, set to take place July 20 – but instead of a fixed price ticket sale, the seat will go to the highest bidder.
It’ll work like this: from May 5-19, bidders will be able to bid any amount on an auction website. From May 19, the bids will be made “unsealed,” or made visible, and bidders have continually exceed the highest bid to remain in the running for the seat. Bidding will conclude June 12 with a live online auction.
From Blue Origin’s website, it looks like the overall flight will be relatively quick, with the craft reaching apogee, or its highest point, four minutes after takeoff. The capsule containing the astronauts (and the lucky bidder) will land 10 minutes after takeoff near its launch site in West Texas.
Blue Origin said the winning bid will be donated to its charitable foundation, Club for the Future.
In recent weeks Blue Origin has conducted a dress rehearsal of astronaut loading and unloading. This is only the most recent move from the company, which has been testing and flight-certifying its spacecraft for the past few years. We will update the story as more information becomes available on the auction.