Blue Origin, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, announced today that it is targeting July 20 to launch its first space flight on board the New Shepherd, which will represent a defining moment in a competition to enter the era of private commercial spaceflight.
The company added that it will provide a seat on its first flight for the winner of a five-week online auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to the charity of the space company.
Arian Cornell, space sales director for Blue Origin, declined to disclose details of the general fares for tickets set by the company for upcoming flights, a secret the company has kept for years.
Reuters reported in 2018 that Blue Origin intends to collect at least $ 200,000 from each passenger, based on an evaluation of the plans of Virgin Galactic Holdings, a rival company owned by billionaire Richard Branson, and other considerations, but this thinking may have changed.
After the first flight in July, Cornell said, Blue will launch two more manned flights before the end of the year.
The New Shepherd is designed to carry six passengers more than 62 miles (100 km) above Earth into space, elevated enough to experience weightlessness for a few minutes and see the planet's curvature before the capsule returns to Earth with the help of parachutes.