Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin was the winning bidder for a pair of seats aboard a Blue Origin spaceflight at a charity auction this week, in a move that will send two New York City teachers into space.
The live auction took place Monday night at the annual benefit for Robin Hood, a New York City non-profit that fights poverty in the Big Apple. The organization told FOX Business that Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, donated the two seats on its New Shephard Rocket as a "buy one give one" item, designating the second seat for a public school teacher.
Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel, won with an $8 million bid that will go directly to the charity. But rather than take the flight himself, Griffin requested that Robin Hood provide both seats to New York City public school teachers.
"I am honored to support the Robin Hood Foundation and thrilled that two exceptional New York City public school teachers will experience the inspirational journey of spaceflight," Griffin said in a statement. "I hope this moment will ignite the imagination of our students and inspire the next generation to push the boundaries of what humanity can achieve while underscoring the extraordinary role our teachers play in the lives of our children."
A spokesperson for Robin Hood said that the organization will partner with New York City's Department of Education, Blue Origin, and Griffin "to identify a process" for picking the two teachers, and that the selection process and timeline will be publicly announced in the near future.
All told, Robin Hood raised $76 million at its annual fundraising event.
Meanwhile, Blue Origin on Monday announced the full six-person crew for its fifth human spaceflight, saying that the flight date for the NS-21 mission will be announced "soon."
A Blue Origin spokesperson told FOX Business that the New York City Department of Education and Robin Hood will select the teachers who will fly, and that whoever is chosen will need to meet Blue Origin's list of functional requirements to participate in a New Shepard mission.
The mission with the teachers aboard will fly in the first half of 2023, the spokesperson said.