Blue Origin opens bidding on first space flight

"We are selling the very first seat on New Shepherd, and that flight will take place on July 20th of this year."

Blue Origin on Wednesday opened bidding for one single civilian seat aboard its first crew flight into spaceon July 20 that it promised would be a “spectacular” suborbital trip -- marking what would be a landmark moment in the race for private commercial space travel.

Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ rocket company said one seat will go to a winning bidder of a five-week sealed online auction, with proceeds donated to the space firm's foundation.

But the company’s Director of Astronaut Sales Ariane Cornell was silent about the details of the future ticket prices -- a closely guarded secret inside the company for years. Reuters reported in 2018 that Blue Origin was planning to charge passengers at least $200,000 for the ride.

Cornell, however,did offer a glimpse of what that lucky bidder can expect to experience on July 20th if all goes according to plan.

"The capsule sits on top of the New Shepard booster. The two lift off together, the booster pushing up the capsule up toward space. We aim for an altitude of 105 kilometers, about 350,000 feet up. That's about 10 times the altitude of what you fly in a commercial airline. Now, as the rocket and the booster, excuse me the booster and the capsule lift off, they accelerate to about MACH3, the astronauts experience about three GS. In fact, it's quite comfortable in those reclining seats that you just saw. And then at about seventy-five kilometers, or about 250,000 feet, the two vehicle separate. And that's when the astronauts start to feel their zero GS. That's when we're going to let them unbuckle, take in the three minutes or so of Zero Gs."

…That’s whenBlue Origin saysthey’re expected to experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the planet before the pressurized capsule returns to earth under parachutes. The capsule’s six observation windows are the largest ever used in space.

After its first flight in July, Cornell said Blue Origin would have "a couple more" crewed flights before the end of the year.

It’s unclear if Mr. Bezos himself will take a flight, unlike Richard Branson, who plans to be aboard rival Virgin Galactic’s first flight later this year… with plans for Branson’s company to fly private customers in early 2022.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- New Shepard has cleared the tower.

ARIANE CORNELL: We are selling the very first seat on New Shepard.

- Blue Origin on Wednesday opened bidding for one single civilian seat aboard its first crew launch into space on July 20th that it promised would be a spectacular suborbital trip, marking what would be a landmark moment in the race for private commercial space travel. The rocket company belonging to billionaire Jeff Bezos said one seat will go to a winning bidder of a five week sealed auction, with proceeds donated to the space firm's foundation. But the company's director of astronaut sales Ariane Cornell was silent about the details of the future ticket prices, a closely guarded secret inside the company for years.

Reuters reported in 2018 that Blue Origin was planning to charge passengers at least $200,000 for the ride. Cornell however, did offer a glimpse of what that lucky bidder can expect to experience on July 20th if all goes according to plan.

ARIANE CORNELL: The capsule sits on top of the New Shepard booster. The two lift off together, the-- the booster pushing up the capsule up toward space, we aim for an altitude of 105 kilometers, about 350,000 feet up. That's about 10 times the altitude of what you fly in a commercial airline.

Now, as the rocket and the booster-- I actually mean the booster and the capsule-- lift off, they accelerate to about Mach three. The astronauts experience about three Gs. In fact, it's quite comfortable in those reclining seats that you just saw.

And then at about 75 kilometers or about 250,000 feet, the two vehicles separate. And that's when the astronauts start to feel their zero Gs. That's when we're going to let them unbuckle, take in the three minutes or so of zero Gs.

- That's when Blue Origin says they're expected to experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the planet before the pressurized capsule returns to Earth under parachutes. The capsule's six observation windows are the largest ever used in space. After its first flight in July, Cornell said Blue Origin would have a couple more crewed flights before the end of the year. It's unclear if Mr Bezos himself will take a flight, unlike Richard Branson who plans to be aboard rival Virgin Galactic's first flight later this year, with plans for Branson's company to fly private customers in early 2022.