A wealthy and lucky winner paid $ 28 million on Saturday for an auction seat to accompany Jeff Bezos on Blue Origin's first space tourism flight scheduled for July 20.
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The winner, whose identity will be known only in a few weeks, topped the post about twenty participants in these online auctions which lasted less than ten minutes.
The starting price for this seat, alongside Amazon founder, brother Mark, and a fourth traveler, was $ 4.8 million.
The process began in May with stakes that reached $ 4.8 million on Thursday.
That was the starting price on Saturday for that seat, alongside Amazon founder and his brother Mark.
The sale soared with the passage of ten million dollars, the participants - on the telephone and represented by employees of the RR Auction auction house - answering each other by the additional million, until reaching the sum of 28 million.
The winner will also have to pay a 6% commission fee.
The proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Club for the Future foundation created by Blue Origin, intended to encourage young people to work in science and space.
Jeff Bezos, who will step down as Amazon boss in July, announced in early June that he would be part of the first manned flight in the New Shepard rocket with his brother and the winner of an auction for a third seat.
Ariane Cornell, commercial director at Blue Origin, said on Saturday that a fourth space tourist would make the trip, without giving his identity.
The capsule that will be at the top of the rocket, with large windows, can accommodate up to six people in reclining seats, specially made to absorb the shock of the landing, according to Blue Origin.
New Shepard will take off from a desert in West Texas.
The rocket will take off vertically and the capsule will separate from it at about 75 km in height, continuing its trajectory until passing the Karman line at an altitude of 100 km, which defines the limit between the Earth's atmosphere and the space.
Passengers will then be able to float in zero gravity for about three minutes and observe the curvature of the Earth.
During this time, the rocket will descend again to land gently on a runway, still vertically.
Then the capsule will itself begin a free fall to return to Earth, and will be slowed down by three large parachutes and retro rockets before landing in the desert.
The rocket made 15 test flights and "
we are ready to fly astronauts,
" Ariane Cornell said on Saturday, noting that only 569 people had crossed the Karman line.
This trip comes as competition rages between Blue Origin, the SpaceX group led by Elon Musk and Virgin Galactic founded by Richard Branson.
Space represents a priority for Jeff Bezos, and a potential source of considerable income, although Blue Origin is currently lagging behind its main competitor SpaceX in the field of satellites as well as missions in space.
Tourism can thus offer high income prospects, like the price of the third ticket reached on Saturday. Mr Branson could board a test flight during the summer aboard the Virgin Galactic ship, but no specific date has been announced. His company expects regular commercial operations to begin in 2022. The group has already sold some 600 tickets priced between $ 200,000 and $ 250,000.