Unidentified bidder pays $28 million in auction to join Bezos for July space flight

Bidding for the 10-to 12 minute sub-orbital flight started at $4.8 million

William Harwood – CBS News

An unidentified enthusiast bid an astronomical $28 million Saturday to win an online auction for a seat aboard a New Shepard spacecraft and a chance to make history next month, joining rocket owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for a commercial flight to space.

Bidding for the 10- to 12-minute sub-orbital flight started at $4.8 million. In less than two minutes it shot up to $10 million, doubling to $20 million one minute and 10 seconds after that. The $28 million winning bid was accepted a little more than six minutes after the auction’s final round began.

“Going three times… and that is sold! Twenty-eight million dollars to number 107!” auctioneer Steve Little announced with a flourish.

Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, said in a tweet that the winner’s name will be released in the weeks after the auction. The company added, “Then, the fourth and final crew member will be announced — stay tuned.”

Blue Origin’s six-seat New Shepard capsule will carry Bezos, his brother Mark, the not-yet-identified auction winner and one other passenger on a short, up-and-down flight to the lower reaches of space on July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Launching from a company test facility near Van Horn, Texas, the reusable, single-stage New Shepard rocket will boost the crew capsule to an altitude just above 62 miles, the internationally recognized “boundary” of space, before it arcs over for a parachute descent back to Earth.