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Jeff Bezos announced on Monday that he and his brother will join the first crewed spaceflight from his private rocket company on July 20 — just 15 days after he is set to step down as chief executive of Amazon.
"Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space," he wrote in an Instagram post. "On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend."
In May, the Amazon founder's rocket company, Blue Origin, announced that its first flight aboard its New Shepard rocket, designed to carry up to six tourists per flight, would auction off one seat to the highest bidder.
The auction, on BlueOrigin.com, was held in three parts, according to the company. The first phase, from May 5 to May 19, allowed people to bid any amount on the website. After May 19, the bids were unsealed, and on June 12, Blue Origin will hold a live auction to determine the winner.
The money raised will be donated to Blue Origin's foundation, Club for the Future, which promotes STEM education initiatives, the company said.
Bidding for a joyride in outer space next to the Amazon founder was already at $2.8 million with nearly 6,000 participants from 143 countries, according to the company.
In his announcement on Monday, Bezos said: “To see the earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with the earth, with humanity — it’s one earth."