Blue Origin spaceflight bidding closes at $4.8 million ahead of live auction

First crewed flight scheduled for July 20

FILE - In this image from video made available by Blue Origin, the New Shepard rocket lifts off during a test in West Texas on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Jeff Bezos will ride his own rocket into space next month, joining the first crew to fly Blue Origin. Bezos announced Monday, June 7, 2021, that not only will he launch July 20 from Texas, so will his fireman brother Mark. The highest bidder in a charity auction also will make the 10-minute up-and-down hop.  (Blue Origin via AP)
FILE - In this image from video made available by Blue Origin, the New Shepard rocket lifts off during a test in West Texas on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Jeff Bezos will ride his own rocket into space next month, joining the first crew to fly Blue Origin. Bezos announced Monday, June 7, 2021, that not only will he launch July 20 from Texas, so will his fireman brother Mark. The highest bidder in a charity auction also will make the 10-minute up-and-down hop. (Blue Origin via AP) (Blue Origin)

Someone is prepared to fork over $480,000 per minute, or $4.8 million, for a 10-minute suborbital spaceflight with Blue Origin.

The bidding for the company’s first crewed spaceflight ended Thursday at 5 p.m. after opening weeks ago with top bids above $2 million.

After Blue Origin founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos announced he and his brother would also be along for the ride, the dollar amount jumped above $3 million last week.

A live auction is set for June 12 at 1 p.m. to decide the ultimate winner, with all proceeds to be donated to Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s nonprofit foundation meant to inspire children to study science.

The winning bidder will have two days to respond once they are notified to set up their flight or provide the name of the person who will fly in their place.

The New Shepard rocket and capsule are designed to fly six passengers into suborbital space. The winner will join Bezos, his brother, Mark, and other Blue Origin employees.

Blue Origin successfully completed the 15th test flight of its reusable New Shepard rocket in April, with the capsule reaching an altitude of 66 miles.

The company’s launch and landing site is in remote west Texas, 120 miles southeast of El Paso and close to the Mexican border. After the capsule separates, the rocket lands upright to be used again. The capsule, also reusable, descends under parachutes.

New Shepard riders will experience up to 3 G-forces during launch and up to 5.5 Gs during descent.

From liftoff to landing, the experience will last about 10 minutes.

The first crewed launch is scheduled for July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

A day ahead of the deadline to register for the auction, nearly 6,000 people from 143 countries had placed bids, according to Blue Origin.

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