Looking for someplace different to travel to this summer? Forget the cruise. How about a trip into space on the suborbital spacecraft, the New Shepard Crew Capsule 2.0?
The space flight company behind New Shepard is Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. On July 20, the New Shepard will set out on its ‘first’ flight with passengers on board.
For those thrill-seekers or space enthusiasts, now’s your chance. There is one seat on the flight and the bidding has already opened and will be accepting sealed bids through May 19. An unsealed bidding phase will follow, concluding in a live auction on June 12, The New York Times reported.
Blue Origin did not disclose who would be sitting in the other five seats of the six-passenger spacecraft, Space News reported.
“We’ve spent years testing, so we’re ready,” Ariane Cornell, director of astronaut sales at Blue Origin, said during a news conference on Wednesday.
‘It’s time. Let’s put people on board,” Cornell said, explaining that the vehicle has already been flown 15 times, according to Space News..
Their most recent test flight was April 14 when the crew rehearsed boarding and exiting the capsule. It was also the day Blue Origin hinted that it was ready to start flying people in the vessel, a report said.
The company said the proceeds of the auction will go to an affiliated nonprofit organization, the Club for the Future, that supports STEM education activities.
The announcement of New Shepard’s flight took place 60 years to the day after the rocket’s namesake, Alan Shepard, became the first American in space on the suborbital Mercury 3 launch. The scheduled date of the flight is the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, Space News reported.
For the July flight, astronauts will arrive at the launch site in West Texas four days before their flight for safety training. After take-off, the capsule carrying the passengers will separate from its booster at about 47 miles or 250,000 feet. Shortly after, the astronauts will get to unbuckle and experience the weightlessness for about three minutes before returning to Earth, Cornell said.
As if that wasn’t cool enough, Cornell said that New Shepard is fully pressurized; therefore, passengers will not need to wear spacesuits or helmets.
For that lucky person who wins, there are a few terms in the agreement that need to be followed that are listed on Blue Origin’s website. For instance, the person must be at least 18 years old and be at least 5 feet tall and 110 pounds to 6-foot-four and 223 pounds. They must be comfortable with walking at heights 70 feet above ground level, and climbing a launch tower that is equivalent to seven flights of stairs in less than 90 seconds. Others include fastening your harness in less than 15 seconds and being able to sustain lots of pressure that will take place during take-off and landing.
As for other flights, Cornell declined to discuss how the company would sell tickets beyond this initial auction. She added the company will take notes of the “most active bidders” in that auction for follow-up on future ticket sales, Space News reported.
After the July 20 flight, “we will have a couple more crewed flights before the end of the year,” she added.