Elon Musk will technically become the richest man on Earth next month, when his space rival and the world’s richest man will travel into space on the first human flight of Blue Origin. On July 20, the space agency plans to send more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) of passengers from the Earth’s surface to the reusable submersible rocket system New Shepard. The 10-minute flight will see crew at speeds in excess of 3 GS before the capsule is detached. At this point, they can unravel and feel the effects of weightlessness before returning to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere three minutes later.
Passengers will land in the West Texas desert with the help of a parachute deployed by the capsule, where the landing crew will meet them. Blue Origin is auctioning off one seat in the capsule, with a maximum bid (at the time of writing) of $3,500,000. Futures will go to the Foundation Club of Blue Origin, whose goal is to inspire future generations to pursue a career in stem.
The winner of the auction will join the first flight to New Shepard with Bases and his brother, to be named the second human (and first American) in space. Bezos surprised his brother by receiving an invitation to be on top of the rocket in a video he recorded for an Instagram announcement. “I have been dreaming of space travel since I was five years old,” he wrote on Instagram. “On July 20, I will make that journey with my brother. Bezos resigned as chief executive officer (CEO) of Amazon earlier this year to focus on other charitable initiatives, including spaceflight company Blue Origin. His last day at the agency will come 15 days before he goes into space. It makes many jokes on the internet about fleeing the world.
In the video of his announcement, Bezos went a little further on why he wanted to board the first crew flight of Blue Origin. “To see the earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet; it changes your relationship with humanity. It’s a world,” Bezos said. Life is an adventure. It is a big deal for me.” He invited his brother, whom he described as his best friend, because he thought it would be “meaningful” to keep him there.