Anonymous bidder pays $28 million for space flight with Jeff Bezos

An anonymous bidder has paid $28 million for a seat on Blue Origin's first crewed space flight. The seat was sold at auction on Saturday. Blue Origin Tweeted that the identity of the mystery bidder would be revealed in the coming weeks. The flight is scheduled for the 20th of July. Jeff Bezos himself, his brother Mark, and a mystery space tourist will be the passengers on board Blue Origin's first crewed flight.

The company tweeted that the money raised from the online auction will be donated to Blue Origin's foundation @ClubforFuture. The auction for the seat on the flight has been going on for a month. Before Saturday's online auction the highest bid was $5 million, that amount jumped more than five times, with the final winning bid coming in at $28 million!

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More about Blue Origin

Blue Origin is an American LLC that was founded by Jeff Bezos in 2000. The company is a privately funded aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital space flight company. Its headquarters are in Kent, Washington. Bezos still owns the company and he funds it through share sales of his Amazon stock. Bezos has said in previous interviews that his goal with Blue Origins is to reduce the cost and increase the safety of human spaceflight. Later this year Bezos will be stepping down as CEO of Amazon and has stated that he will focus more on Blue Origin. "I'm pursuing this work because I believe if we don't, we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis, which I find very demoralizing," he said in an interview with a publication back in February. NASA is planning a mission to the moon in 2024, dubbed Artemis 3, and aims to land humans on the moon's surface. In May, Blue Origin was awarded $1 billion from NASA to produce designs for a human-landing system for the mission. Blue Origin is competing with Elon Musk's SpaceX and Alabama-based Dynetics to win contracts for NASA 2024 mission.

Billionaires in Space

According to Morgan Stanley, the revenue generated by the global space industry could increase to $1 trillion[1]. There has been an increase in private equity firms investing in space exploration. Jeff Bezos is not the only billionaire with a passion for space exploration. Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 and Richard Branson started Virgin Galactic in 2004. Musk has long held a belief that to survive human beings need to become an interplanetary species. However, he was disappointed by the cost of launching rockets and hence started his company to make more affordable rockets. Branson started Virgin Galactic with the goal to make space tourism more accessible. Together SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin have radically changed how space exploration works. They are responsible for significant innovations in the field particularly with regards to low-cost flights and reusable rockets. Though some might scoff at billionaires using rockets and space in a bizarre competition to outdo one another, there is no denying their impact on the industry.

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Source:

1. July 2020, "Space: Investing in the final frontier", Morgan Stanley, [available online] available from: https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/investing-in-space [accessed Jun 2021] 

Featured image: Blue Origin