Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin is close to identifying just what a private individual will pay to go into space.
The company launched an auction early this month and will launch a civilian into orbit if all goes according to plan – for the price of at least $2.8 million.
Blue Origin has a best-case target of July 20 for the flight on the New Shepard spacecraft, with one of the six seats going to the winning bidder.
Anyone could place bids from May 5-19, and as of last week the process moved to the “unsealed” portion.
It’s unlikely that $2.8 million will be the final number, though, as open bidding for the 11-minute crewed flight now runs through June 10, after which a live online auction will be held June 12, according to the company’s website.
More than 5,200 applicants from 136 countries have entered the bid for the winning ticket, according to Business Insider.
The proceeds raised will go toward Blue Origin’s Club for the Future, which emphasizes the pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
In order to thwart non-legitimate bidders, Blue Origin is doing identity checks and requests a $10,000 refundable deposit with partner RR Auctions.
The Bezos space company and Elon Musk’s SpaceX have been wrangling for leadership in space exploration.
The Intercept reported that Blue Origin, for example, received $2.3 billion in funding (along with United Launch Alliance and Northrop Grumman) from the Air Force for space launch services, prompting a 2019 SpaceX lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Then, SpaceX won the fight with Blue Origin to acquire NASA funding last month for a contract to put astronauts on the moon.