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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Jeff Bezos announced Monday that he and his brother Mark would be among those flying on the first passenger flight of his space company Blue Origin — via a video posted on the billionaire's Instagram account.

The big picture: The passenger flight, the New Shepard, will be launching on July 20, with Bezos and his brother joining the winner of a public auction for one of the seats.

  • Currently, auction bidding is at $2.8 million with roughly 6,000 participants from 143 countries.
  • The New Shepherd has flown more than a dozen successful test flights, all without passengers, per CNBC.
  • “To see the Earth from space, it changes you,” Bezos said in the video. “It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.”

Of note: July 20, the day of the flight, will mark the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Sep 2, 2021 - Science

Private companies are changing who gets to go to space

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Private missions to orbit like the all-civilian Inspiration4 launching later this month are opening access to space to people who historically haven't gone there.

Why it matters: Fewer than 600 people have flown to space, and most of them have been white men. But with the rise of commercial spaceflight that's expected to change.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Sep 14, 2021 - Science

Wrestling with the risks of private missions to space

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew, launching to orbit this week, will force the space industry to contend with just how much risk ordinary people are willing to take on in order to build humanity's future in space.

Why it matters: The private space industry's goal of building an economy in space hinges on sending more people to orbit in the near future. But spaceflight is still an incredibly risky endeavor and it will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Sep 14, 2021 - Science

Inspiration4 launch: What the crew will do in space

Clockwise from left: Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux and Chris Sembroski. Photo: Inspiration4/John Kraus

When the Inspiration4 crew lives in space for three days, they'll do more than just sightseeing. The crew members also hope to perform experiments and fly a variety of sentimental items with them in space.

The big picture: This mission is like none that have flown before, but the crew is still planning to draw on the experiences of previous professional crews to help advance space science and attract the public to their cause.