Finance Amazon founder Jeff Bezos books space voyage on Blue Origin rocket
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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos books space voyage on Blue Origin rocket

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Amazon’s billionaire founder Jeff Bezos has announced he will soon fly into space on a rocket developed by his company Blue Origin.

Mr Bezos will ride on the first human flight of the so-called New Shepard in what will be his major first move after formally stepping down as Amazon’s chief executive on July 5.

Only two other people will join Mr Bezos on the July 20 suborbital sightseeing trip. One will be his brother, Mark.

“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of travelling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother,” Mr Bezos said in an Instagram post late on Monday (Australian time).

The other seat will be auctioned off online.

The current highest bid for a ticket on the New Shepard rocket stands at $US2.8 million ($A3.6 million), according to Blue Origin’s website.

The ongoing second round of the auction will conclude on June 12.

Blue Origin closed the first round of the auction in May and said it had received more than 5200 bidders from 136 countries.

The spaceflight will be a landmark moment in a competition to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel.

Mr Bezos and fellow billionaire Elon Musk have been investing heavily on their rocket startups, but Blue Origin and Mr Musk’s SpaceX have so far only sent satellites for clients into orbit.

 

The New Shepard rocket-and-capsule combo is designed to autonomously fly six passengers more than 100 kilometres above Earth into suborbital space, high enough to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the planet before the pressurised capsule returns to earth under parachutes.

The capsule has six observation windows Blue Origin has said are nearly three times as tall as those on a Boeing 747 and the largest so far used in space.

Reuters reported in 2018 that Blue Origin was planning to charge passengers at least $US200,000 ($A258,000) for the ride. That was based on an appraisal of rival plans from billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holdings and other considerations, though its thinking might have changed.

-with AAP