Jeff Bezos may be stepping down as Amazon CEO, but he has his sights set high on his next venture. On Monday morning, Bezos announced that he and his brother Mark will travel to space on the first crewed flight of the New Shepard, a suborbital rocket system developed by his aerospace company Blue Origin.
Bezos made the exciting announcement in a video shared to his personal Instagram account, sharing "ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother." He said the trip to space will be "the greatest adventure, with my best friend." Calling the trip to space "the greatest adventure, with my best friend," Bezos, in an accompanying video, told his brother of their upcoming getaway to the stars. Mark admitted that he "wasn't even expecting him to say that he was going to be on the first flight. Then when he asked me to go along I was just awestruck."
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Named after astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space, New Shepard is a reusable suborbital rocket system that features a crew capsule with room for six people. Having already flown 15 successful missions, the spacecraft flies above the Kármán Line, "the internationally recognized boundary of space." Blue Origin says the "11-minute flight on New Shepard will be the experience of a lifetime."
The company is currently hosting a three-phase online auction offering one seat on the first flight of its New Shepard spacecraft. The sealed portion of the auction began on May 5. The second phase runs through June 10, with a live auction determining the winner on June 12. Fox News reports that the auction has already seen bids from nearly 6,000 participants from around the world. The bidding has already reached $2.8 million.
Bezos' trip to space comes after Amazon announced in May that he will step down from his position as the CEO of Amazon. Bezos will leave his role and become executive chair on July 5, with Andy Jassy, who currently serves as CEO of Amazon Web Services, taking over the CEO position. Bezos originally founded Amazon back in 1994, and in confirming his CEO departure date, he said they "chose that date because it's sentimental for me: the day Amazon was incorporated in 1994, exactly 27 years ago."