Over the last year, many have thought about when will Blue Origin finish testing their New Shephard rocket and finally launch their first crewed flight. Well, the wait is finally over.

Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company is trying to break into the space tourism industry with actual flights to space. The flights will be launched on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket from their launch site in Texas. Today Blue Origin announced that their flight for July 20th will have a crew on it.

The flight will hold up to 6 commercial astronauts in the rocket’s crew capsule but 1 will be awarded the seat in an auction for charity. Starting today, if you have the capital to afford it, you can place your initial bid online to get a seat.

Blue Origin’s bidding process

This is not a normal silent auction like you might see at a school fundraiser, it will be a month and a half long process for bidding. The auction starts today with sealed bids, you submit your bid online, and it is kept secret. You can bid any amount you’d like, this phase lasts till May 19th. On that day the bids become unsealed and anyone will be able to see what you bid, to continue in the auction you must outbid the highest unsealed bid.

Finally, we get to the moment that determines the winner, a live online auction on June 12th. The highest bidder after the auction is finished will pay and get a seat on the first New Shepard crewed mission. The proceeds of the auction will be donated to Blue Origin’s Club for the Future foundation.

The average person will probably not make it

Like I said earlier, this isn’t your school fundraiser, the starting bid for the sealed process is $50 and Blue Origin’s auction partner, R&R Auction Company, is geared up to take bets much larger than that. If you don’t verify your account you will only be able to bid up to $50,000. Verifications take a few hours and required a refundable wire transfer of $10,000.

While many people hoped Blue Origin’s ride to space will be the start of affordable leisure space travel, it will probably be far from it. With a rumor that the average ticket price will be “well north” of $500,000. New Shepard is looking more like a space ride for Jeff Bezos and his rich friends.

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