- The Washington Times - Monday, June 7, 2021

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said Monday he will join the first manned flight of the New Shepherd, a rocket built by his space company Blue Origin, on July 20.

Mr. Bezos’ jaunt to space will come about two weeks after he steps down as CEO of Amazon.

He’ll be joined by his brother, Mark, and the winner of an international auction that allows bidding until June 10.

“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend,” Jeff Bezos wrote on Instagram.

Mr. Bezos isn’t the only billionaire poking around in space — Elon Musk and SpaceX launched a historic mission to the International Space Station with NASA — but the announcement shows he’s willing to shoot for the stars firsthand.

The New Shepherd launches and lands vertically and is designed to support space tourism. Work on prototypes began in 2006 and uncrewed testing began in 2015.

The capsule takes up to six passengers to the edge of space, with a few moments in zero gravity, before returning to Earth.

“To see the Earth from space, it changes you,” Mr. Bezos said.

Auction bidding is at $2.8 million with nearly 6,000 participants from 143 countries.

The winning bid will go to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, which promotes careers in STEM education and space exploration.

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