The company launched the auction last month, before it was revealed that the billionaire founder and tycoon of Amazon Bezos, along with his brother Mark Bezos, would be on board the inaugural New Shepard mission with crew.
Blue Origin sales director Ariane Cornell said during the live broadcast of the event that 7,600 people from 159 countries had registered and could bid on the auction, which was organized by RR Auction, based in Boston, Saturday. The name of the winning bidder was not disclosed. The flight is scheduled to leave Blue Origin facilities in the city of Van Horn, west Texas, on July 20.
Blue Origin, the Bezos rocket company founded in 2000, has spent most of a decade testing New Shepard, the 60-foot-high rocket and capsule system. It will mark the first time humans have flown aboard the fully autonomous New Shepard vehicle after 15 unmanned test flights conducted by the company since 2015.
The company’s ultimate goal is to sell tickets to the general public, offering short but discordant trips more than 62 miles above Earth for panoramic views, a few minutes of weightlessness and boasting rights. The 62-mile mark is the altitude that is considered internationally as the outer space boundary, although the U.S. government considers it to be around 50 miles. Throughout history, people have been considered astronauts – and have received metals, needles or “wings” for traveling above any mark.
Proceeds from the auction, which ended on Saturday, will go to Blue Origin’s Club for the Future, which aims to promote science, technology, engineering and math education among young students. But it was also a test of fire to determine how much wealthy consumers might be willing to pay for a brief flight to the top of the atmosphere.
The $ 28 million price for which the ticket was sold is far higher than what Blue Origin’s direct competitor Virgin Galactic has sold its tickets for. Although Galactic has not yet flown paying customers, it has already sold approximately 600 tickets for between $ 200,000 and $ 250,000 each.
The flight profile of a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket is very different from that of an orbital SpaceX rocket.
The New Shepard capsule then deploys a large parachute plume to slow its descent to less than 20 miles per hour before it hits the ground.