Jeff Bezos funds Blue Origin with $1B in Amazon stock per year

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Tuesday reiterated his vow to use his stock in the e-commerce giant he founded to fuel the growth of Blue Origin, his space tourism venture.

While accepting an award from German media company Alex Springer in Berlin, Bezos said he will liquidate $1 billion in Amazon stock per year to help fund Blue Origin’s efforts, Reuters reported. Founded in 2000, Blue Origin aims to use reusable rockets to provide relatively low-cost trips to space for would-be tourists.

Bezos said Blue Origin is aiming to test a space tourism vehicle with human passengers by late 2018 or early 2019. The private venture conducted a test of its “New Shepard” rocket last December from its test facility in Texas.

The Amazon founder, 54, is currently the richest man in the world, with a net worth estimated at $121.1 billion as of Tuesday, according to Forbes’ real-time calculations. Amazon stock composes the vast majority of Bezos’s personal fortune.

Bezos previously discussed his decision to use Amazon shares to fund Blue Origin last month while accepting the Buzz Aldrin Space Exploration Award at the Explorers Club Annual Dinner in New York.

“The price of admission to space is very high,” Bezos said, according to Bloomberg. “I’m in the process of converting my Amazon lottery winnings into a much lower price of admission so we can go explore the solar system.”

Blue Origin directly competes with SpaceX, the private space venture founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2002. SpaceX has partnered with NASA on several ventures, and Musk has said he is aiming to conduct flights to Mars in the near future.