Jun 12, 2021 - Science

Blue Origin auctions off a trip to the edge of space for $28 million

A test dummy flies to suborbital space with a view of Earth out the window

A test dummy flies aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard. Photo: Blue Origin

A seat aboard Blue Origin’s first crewed flight to suborbital space fetched $28 million during a live auction on Saturday.

Why it matters: While the market for suborbital tourist flights to space may not be huge, experts say it's an important, public-facing part of the space industry that could popularize it as more people start flying.

Catch up quick: Saturday's live event was the finale in Blue Origin's multi-part auction for this seat on its New Shepard vehicle. The proceeds from the auction will benefit the company's STEM-focused foundation Club for the Future.

  • "Wow, I need a second here," Ariane Cornell, director of astronaut and orbital sales at Blue Origin said during the webcast after the auction ended.
  • The winner — who has not been revealed — will also be flying to the edge of space with Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark and a yet-to-be-shared fourth passenger.
  • The flight is expected to launch July 20.

How it works: A flight aboard New Shepard takes about 11 minutes. The passengers launch within the capsule atop a rocket, reaching about 62 miles up into the air.

  • The capsule then comes down under parachutes as the reusable rocket lands upright back on Earth.

The big picture: Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is also working to launch its first paying customers on suborbital flights to space, with Branson expected to potentially fly sometime this year.

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