Capitalism in space: Blue Origin announced today that it going to auction to the highest bidder the first tourist seat on the first New Shepard tourist flight, now scheduled for July 20, 2021, a little over two months from now. From the company^s website, where you can bid:
On July 20th, New Shepard will fly its first astronaut crew to space. We are offering one seat on this first flight to the winning bidder of an online auction.
There are three phases of the auction:
- MAY 5-19: Sealed online bidding – you can bid any amount you want on the auction website (no bids are visible)
- MAY 19: Unsealed online bidding – the bids become visible and participants must exceed the highest bid to continue in the auction
- JUNE 12: Live auction – the bidding concludes with a live online auction.
The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space.
This is a very smart move, as it will generate some excitement and interest. It also schedules this private suborbital flight ahead of SpaceX’s first private orbital flight in September, allowing Blue Origin to upstage its rival somewhat.
It also is designed to help Blue Origin gauge the true interest in suborbital tourism. The final price will give them a good idea the right price to charge future passengers in order to sell the most tickets.
Finally, the timing of everything shows a nice historic touch. The announcement today took place on the 60th anniversary of Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight. The flight itself will take place on the 52rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon.
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