An auction for a ride into space next month alongside Jeff Bezos and his brother has ended with a winning $US28 million ($36.3 million) bid.
- It will be the first launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket with people on board, kicking off the company’s space tourism business
- More than 7,500 people from 159 countries registered to bid, according to Blue Origin
- The winning amount is being donated to Blue Origin’s Club for the Future, an educational effort to promote science and tech among young people
The Amazon founder’s rocket company, Blue Origin, did not disclose the winner’s name following the live online auction.
The identity will be revealed in a couple weeks — closer to the brief up-and-down flight from West Texas on July 20, the 52nd anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moon landing.
It will be the first launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket with people on board, kicking off the company’s space tourism business.
Fifteen previous test flights of the reusable rocket and capsule since 2015 — short hops lasting about 10 minutes — were all successful.
Saturday’s auction followed more than a month of online bidding that reached $US4.8 million ($6.2 million) by Friday.
More than 7,500 people from 159 countries registered to bid, according to Blue Origin. More than 20 bidders — the high rollers — took part in Saturday’s auction.
Bezos announced Monday that he and his younger brother, Mark, would be on board New Shepard’s first crew flight, and the news quickly boosted bidding.
The winning amount is being donated to Blue Origin’s Club for the Future, an educational effort to promote science and tech among young people.
The completely automated capsule can carry up to six passengers, each with his or her own big window.
Blue Origin’s top sales director, Ariane Cornell, said following the auction that the fourth and final seat on the debut crew flight would be announced soon.
Blue Origin has yet to open ticket sales to the public or divulge prices.
And the Winner is……?
1 Elon Musk (Tesla)
2 Bernard Arnault (LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton)
3 Richard Branson (Virgin)
4 Bill Gates (Microsoft)
5 Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
6 Warren Buffet (Investor)
7 Larry Ellison (Oracle)
8 Sergey Brin (Google)
9 Larry Page (Google)
10 Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries)
11 Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (L’Oreal)
12 Amancio Ortega (Zara Fashion)
13 Zhong Shanshan (Nongfu Spring beverage company)
14 Ma Huateng (Tencent)
15 Gautam Adani (Adani Group)
16 Alice Walton (Walmart)
17 Steve Ballmer (Microsoft)
18 Julia Flesher Koch (Koch industries)
19 George Soros (Investor)
20 Carlos Slim (America Movil telecom)
Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud
_____________________ ideas who?