Bezos to go on first crewed New Shepard flight

WASHINGTON — Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man and founder of Blue Origin, announced June 7 that he will go on the first crewed flight of the company’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle next month.

In an Instagram post, Bezos said that he, and his brother Mark, will go on the suborbital flight, scheduled for July 20 from Blue Origin’s West Texas test site.

“I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me,” Bezos says in the brief video.

In that video, Bezos asks his younger brother Mark, to accompany him on the flight. “I think it would be meaning to have my brother there,” he said.

Mark Bezos accepted. “I wasn’t even expecting him to say that he was going to be on the first flight,” he said in the video. “And when he asked me to go along, I was just awe-struck.”

Blue Origin announced May 5 that, after years of development and more than a dozen uncrewed test flights, the company was finally ready to fly people on New Shepard. At the time, the company did not disclose who would fly on the vehicle, other than it would make one seat available to the winner of an auction.

That online auction is ongoing, with a current high bid of $2.8 million. The auction is set to conclude June 12 with a live auction among qualified bidders.

Bezos founded Blue Origin two decades ago and has funded its development through sales of stock from Amazon.com. Bezos announced earlier this year he would step down as chief executive of Amazon to focus his attention on Blue Origin and other initiatives. Bezos announced May 26 that his last day as Amazon’s chief executive would be July 5.

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