Blue Origin has opened the first round of bidding for the first passenger seat on its New Shepard vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) suborbital reusable spacecraft. The flight is scheduled for July 20, 2021.
Four New Shepard rockets have taken off a total of 15 times since 2015. However, none of the missions had an astronaut. Instead, aerospace company Blue Origin has focused on flight testing and delivering NASA payloads in suborbital flights. The maximum flight altitude was 100 km.
After completing an uncrewed rehearsal flight on April 14 from Company One’s launch pad in West Texas, Blue Origin is accepting applications for the first passenger seats aboard the autonomous capsule. Closed tenders, the amounts of which are kept secret, will be held from 5 to 19 May 2021. The final online auction is scheduled for June 12 to determine the winner.
Blue Origin states that the proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Club for the Future fund. Its mission is to inspire young people to work in STEM with a particular focus on space. As a reminder, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is a broad term used to combine these academic disciplines.