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The bidding battle for a seat on Jeff Bezos’ spacecraft has reached new heights.
Pre-auction bidding for a slot on Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ July 20 Blue Origin flight closed Thursday at nearly $5 million, according to the space company’s website.
The live auction for the seat launches this Saturday at 12:45 p.m. with an opening bid of $4.8 million, according to Blue Origin.
The winner will accompany Bezos and his brother Mark into orbit on an 11-minute flight.
If the live auction bidding were to close at $4.8 million, the winner would be paying close to $500,000 per minute in space.
The pre-auction attracted bidders from more than 140 countries, the company said. The winning bid will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, which encourages children to pursue careers in STEM.
Bezos’ spacecraft, called the New Shepard, can carry up to six people, but only the two Bezos brothers have been confirmed as passengers.
The New Shephard has flown more than a dozen successful flights without crews. Boasting massive windows, the craft is designed to give space tourists unforgettable views of Earth’s curvature, as well as several minutes in zero gravity.
July’s flight is scheduled for just two weeks after Bezos steps down as CEO of Amazon. It will make Bezos, who has a net worth of $193.5 billion according to Forbes, by far the richest man to go to space.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos wrote on Instagram on Monday. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson is reportedly trying to beat Bezos to orbit, weighing a flight over July 4 weekend.
Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk has not announced plans to travel to space. In April, Musk warned that “a bunch of people will probably die” as he and other cosmos capitalists try to reach mars.
While Blue Origin’s site says that a bidding livestream for the seat opens at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, it’s unclear what time bidding will close. The space company did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
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