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The New Shepard capsule coming down to Earth. Photo: Blue Origin

Blue Origin has unsealed the bidding for a seat aboard its suborbital space system. The current high bid is $2.6 million.

Why it matters: The Jeff Bezos-founded space company hasn't yet revealed a price per seat for rides aboard its New Shepard system, but this auction could help clarify demand in the market for these types of rides to the edge of space.

Catch up quick: The New Shepard is designed to bring six passengers up about 100 kilometers from Earth's surface before bringing them back down under parachutes.

  • During the flight, customers will be experience weightlessness and see Earth against the blackness of space.
  • The bidding for the seat started off as a secret, but on Tuesday, the company entered a new phase in which the high bid is publicly advertised on its website. More than 5,200 participants from 136 countries have bid, according to Blue Origin.
  • The process will end on June 12 with a live, online auction, and the flight should launch in July.

The big picture: Blue Origin isn't the only company trying to strike it big with the market for suborbital space tourism.

  • Virgin Galactic is also working to get its system ready for paying customers, but the company has hit a number of snags recently that may have contributed to a drop in its stock price.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
May 18, 2021 - Science

Astronomy's future waits on NASA's next big telescope

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: QAI Publishing/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The high-profile, high-price tag James Webb Space Telescope is finally moving closer to launch.

Why it matters: The Webb has been in development by NASA for far longer than expected, and while other missions have moved ahead in that time, getting the powerful telescope to space is a top priority.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.

Developed countries reveal $100 billion climate finance plan ahead of COP26

Alok Sharma, head of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, speaks in Paris on Oct. 12. ( Li Yang/China News Service via Getty Images)

After 12 years of fits and starts, industrialized nations on Monday put forward a detailed plan to provide at least $100 billion annually in climate aid to developing countries starting by 2023.

Why it matters: The plan, presented by representatives of Canada and Germany, is aimed at defusing one of the biggest sources of tension at COP26, which is the failure of industrialized nations to follow through on their financial commitments.