Volunteer FF Mark Bezos headed to space with brother, Jeff
Mark Bezos, a volunteer in Westchester County, N.Y., will join the Amazon CEO on the first human flight of Blue Origin's suborbital rocket system New Shepard
BOSTON — Shortly after he resigns from Amazon, the tech company he founded in his garage in 1994, Jeff Bezos plans to take off into space on the first crewed flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard on July 20.
“To see the earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one Earth,” the Blue Origin founder said in a video posted on Instagram Monday morning. “I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.”
The announcement comes as Blue Origin auctions off a passenger seat on the New Shepard’s six-seater capsule; nearly 6,000 bidders from around the world have placed bids up to nearly $3 million to hop on board, The New York Times reported.
Blue Origin says its rockets will help “return Americans to the surface of the moon — this time to stay.”
Its first crewed flight in July, an 11-minute journey topping more than 60 miles above Earth, comes as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic continue to advance private spaceflight.
SpaceX, which Musk founded with a goal of sending humans to Mars, made history last year as it sent NASA astronauts into orbit on its Falcon 9 rocket — the first time a private company launched humans into space after years of uncrewed test flights and cargo missions.
SpaceX beat out Blue Origin for a contract to build the lunar lander as part of NASA’s plans to return astronauts to the moon by 2024, according to CNN. But Blue Origin still plans on being part of NASA’s moon missions and says its New Glenn rocket could be used for deep space flights on top of launching government and commercial satellites into orbit.
Bezos said that he’ll be joined in the first crewed flight by his brother, Mark, a vice president of a New York charity who serves as volunteer firefighter. The billionaire said he thought “it would be meaningful” to have his brother there, as he’s his “closest friend.”
“I wasn’t even expecting [Jeff] to be on the first flight,” Mark Bezos said in the Instagram video. “I was just awestruck. What a remarkable opportunity not only to have this adventure but to be able to do it with my best friend.”
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Watch next: Mark Bezos gives a TEDTalk, "A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter" in 2011.