Blue Origin holds live auction to join Jeff Bezos’ trip to space

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The American privately funded aerospace manufacturer Blue Origin is bringing out a thrilling offer to travel in a spaceship with its founder Jeff Bezos, who is also the CEO of multi-national technology company Amazon.

Blue Origin is planning a live auction to conclude the month-long bidding process for a seat on the sightseeing trip to space next month with the company’s founder Mr. Bezos. However, the identity of the winner, presumably an ultra-wealthy space expert, will not be immediately disclosed.

The July 20 launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard booster from West Texas would be a landmark moment as US firms strive toward a new era of private commercial space travel. Mr. Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man and a lifelong space enthusiast, has been racing against fellow aspiring billionaire aeronauts Richard Branson and Elon Musk to be the first of the three to travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

“Putting the world’s richest man and one of the most recognized figures in business into space is a massive advertisement for space as a domain for exploration, industrialization and investment,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas stated.

As the month-long bidding process leading up to the live auction which closed this week,  the winning figure stood at more than $4 million, fueled by entries from over 6,000 people from at least 143 countries, Blue Origin said.

The live auction capping process is set to begin on Saturday and last only for a few minutes. While the funds raised from the event are earmarked for charity, Blue Origin is hoping to spur enthusiasm for its budding tourism business.

However, Mr. Branson, who founded Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc, may attempt to steal Bezos’ thunder by joining a possible test flight to the edge of space over the July 4 weekend aboard Virgin’s VSS Unity spaceplane, one person familiar with the matter said.

The race is fueled by optimism that space travel will become mainstream as nascent technology is proven and costs fall, fueling what investment bank UBS estimates could be a $3 billion annual tourism market by 2030.

Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and Musk’s SpaceX, have also discussed using their rockets to link far-flung global cities. UBS says that the long-haul travel market could be worth more than $20 billion, though several barriers such as air-safety certification could derail the plans.

Related: SpaceX prepares its 1st oceanic spaceport to launch Mars-bound Starship