Jeff Bezos and his brother will have an extra passenger on their flight to space next month: an unnamed donor who paid nearly $30 million in a charity auction to fly aboard Blue Origin’s first manned spaceflight.
Last week, Bezos announced that he and his brother would be boarding Blue Origin’s maiden human voyage on July 20, heating up a space race between three billionaires — Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson — and their three companies competing to achieve regular, commercial space flights.
Nearly 7,600 bidders from 159 countries took part in an online auction Saturday for the seat, Blue Origin said. The winning bid for the auction will be donated to Club for the Future, a non-profit owned by Blue Origin which works with young people to introduce them to STEM fields. Blue Origin did not reveal the name of the winning bidder, but said it would be revealed in “the weeks following the auction’s conclusion.”
Blue Origin is much smaller than SpaceX, but its rate of growth has far outpaced its competitors. Since 2018, the company’s headcount has grown 258% while SpaceX and Virgin Galactic have grown by 58% and 73% respectively. Elon Musk has yet to announce any plans to board a SpaceX flight, but Richard Branson has said he hopes to board a Virgin Galactic test flight later this year.
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