Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is ready for takeoff — and founder Jeff Bezos will be on board. The company’s first crewed flight is officially scheduled for July 20, in honor of the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
“I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me,” Bezos said in an announcement video posted on his Instagram.
Bezos’ brother, Mark, will also be accompanying the billionaire on this historic flight.
“What a remarkable opportunity, not only to have this adventure, but to be able to do it with my best friend,” said Mark. Traveling with the Bezos brothers will be a yet-to-be declared winner of an online auction, which concludes Saturday. Bidding for the seat opened on May 5. At the time of writing, the current highest bid is at $3.2 million.
The potential dangers of opening space to non-professional astronauts are still unknown. But in 2004, the U.S. Congress passed the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act, which only requires the “informed consent” of onboard crew and passengers. In other words, if Bezos is ready and willing, there’s nothing else keeping him tethered to Earth.
“To see the Earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity,” said Bezos. “It’s one Earth.”