First phase of Blue Origin rocket auction closes; highest bid at $2.6M
Second phase will continue through June 10
Blue Origin's first phase of bidding for a seat on board the company's reusable suborbital rocket New Shepard closed on Wednesday and the company reported its highest bid at $2.6 million dollars and rising.
During the sealed portion of the online auction, which began on May 5, bidders could submit "any amount" for the chance to ride into space.
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The second, unsealed phase of the online bidding is currently in progress and runs through June 10, according to the Blue Origin website.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that the Jeff Bezos-founded company said it had received more than 5,200 bidders from 136 countries and that the second round kicked off with an initial bid of $1.4 million dollars.
The spaceflight company announced it would begin to sell New Shepard tickets at the end of April.
The bidding concludes with a live auction on June 12, for which parties are required to raise their bid limit by June 10 at 5 p.m. ET in order to participate.
The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation Club for the Future – which it says is to help "inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space."
The winner will fill one of the six seats on New Shepard's first crewed suborbital flight, traveling to an altitude of more than 340,000 feet.
That trip is targeted for the anniversary of the July 20 Apollo 11 moon landing.
As Yahoo News reported on Wednesday, Blue Origin has been testing reusable New Shepard spacecraft through uncrewed flight tests for six years, including an April 14 rehearsal flight that lasted for a duration of 10 minutes and 10 seconds.
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Blue Origin has some tough competition within the industry including Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk's SpaceX.
Virgin Galactic's reservations for its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane have been sold for as much as $250,000, with Space.com reporting last year they had more than 600 reservations, and SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship trips with a price tag of up to or more than tens of millions of dollars.