First seat aboard Blue Origin New Shepard sells for $28 million

The first seat aboard a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket has been sold for $28 million to a currently anonymous bidder.
The maiden crewed New Shepard flight will be launched on July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing | Image credit: Blue Origin

The first seat aboard a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket has been sold for $28 million concluding a multi-week auction.

Blue Origin announced on May 5 that it would auction off the first seat aboard a New Shepard rocket with the proceeds going to the company’s own foundation, Club for the Future.

After an initial two rounds of bidding, the highest bid stood at $4.8 million going into a live auction which was held on June 12.

The live auction took just six minutes with the bid skyrocketing past most estimates and finally landing on a $28 million bid from bidder number 107.

According to Blue Origin, the identity of the bidder will be announced in a few weeks. Following the announcement, the company will then reveal the identity of a fourth passenger aboard the flight. It is currently unclear what criteria are being used to select this fourth passenger.

In addition to the two currently anonymous passengers, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos and his brother will complete the four-person crew.

Bezos announced that he would be aboard the first crewed flight of the New Shepard rocket on his personal Instagram account on June 7.

“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,” said Bezos.

The launch of the maiden crewed flight of a New Shepard rocket is slated to lift off on July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

A controversial live broadcast

Despite the conclusion of the live auction eliciting significant excitement, several observers expressed how they felt that the event had been in poor taste.

Following more than a year of lockdowns caused by a global pandemic, many are feeling the brunt of an economic downturn. With this as a backdrop, Blue Origin decided to publicly auction a seat aboard a suborbital roller coaster enabling the wealthiest among us to show the world how much disposable income they have on hand.

The spectacle was made even more uncomfortable with a few choice comments from the auctioneer. “Realising of course, the more you pay for it, the more you enjoy it,” said the auctioneer.

With the final bang of the auctioneer’s hammer, the average man and woman did not feel as though space was opening up to all as the Blue Origin marketing claims. At that moment, it could not have felt more closed.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.