Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin Photograph:( AFP )
The rocket company is targeting July 20 for its first suborbital sightseeing trip on its spacecraft, a landmark moment in a competition to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel
Blue Origin, billionaire Jeff Bezos' rocket company, disclosed $2 million as the current highest bid for a seat on its New Shepherd spacecraft after the startup closed the first phase of its auction.
The second phase of the auction is underway and will last until June 10. The process will conclude in a final phase on June 12 with a live online auction.
The rocket company is targeting July 20 for its first suborbital sightseeing trip on its spacecraft, a landmark moment in a competition to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel.
The New Shepard rocket-and-capsule combo is designed to autonomously fly six passengers more than 62 miles (100 km) above Earth into suborbital space.
Blue Origin has been planning to charge passengers at least $200,000 for the ride, based on an appraisal of rival plans from billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc and other considerations, though its thinking may have changed.
Blue Origin has fallen far behind Elon Musk's SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) on orbital transportation, losing out on billions of dollars' worth of US national security launch contracts that begin in 2022.
These rocket startups mainly aim to send satellites for clients into orbit at an affordable price and reuse parts of rockets to keep costs in check.