The founder and CEO of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is set to become the first billionaire executive to actually fly in a spaceflight. Not even Elon Musk, whose Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is the first company to deliver human beings to the International Space Station, has announced plans to travel to space aboard one of his Falcon 9 rockets.
Bezos, the wold’s richest man with a net worth of $187 billion, made the announcement in an Instagram post Monday, saying that next month he and his younger brother Mark will be part of the first crewed space flight of the New Shepard, the rocket ship made by Blue Origin, Bezos’ space tourism company.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos said. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
If all goes according to plan, Bezos, his brother Mark and a third member of the crew that’s being decided by a charity auction with the seat currently priced at $2.8 million five days ahead of the deadline for bids, will travel toward the edge of space on a 11-minute flight to reach an altitude of about 62 miles – the internationally agreed-upon edge of outer space.
At that altitude, Blue Origin’s crewed space capsule, which features six observation windows that are nearly three times as tall as those on a Boeing 747 jetliner, will detach from its booster and allow Bezos and crew to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the planet before the pressurized capsule returns to earth under parachutes.
Blue Origin’s rocket has completed 15 uncrewed test flights so far, meaning Bezos will be on the first flight to test the rocket with human passengers.
The billionair’s scheduled space flight next month will be about two weeks after he officially steps down as Amazon’s CEO.