The richest man on Earth is set to become the richest man in space, blasting off aboard Blue Origin‘s first human spaceflight next month.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his brother will be joined by the winner of an online auction the spaceflight company is currently running, onboard its New Shepherd rocket on 20 July, Mr Bezos confirmed.
“I wanna go on this flight because it’s the thing I’ve wanted to do all my life,” Mr Bezos said in the video clip uploaded to Instagram. “It’s an adventure, it’s a big deal for me. I invited my brother to come because we’re closest friends.”
“You see the earth from space and it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one Earth,” he added.
Mr Bezos announced he was stepping down as Amazon’s chief executive to focus on the retail behemoth’s other initiatives, including Blue Origin, in February.
The multi-billionaire’s passion for space is well-known. He founded Blue Origin in 2000 and has previously joked about founding Amazon purely to fund his childhood dream of making it to outer space. He reinvests around $1bn raised from the sales of his Amazon shares into the enterprise each year and in 2018, called Blue Origin “the most important work that I’m doing”.
The two men and the winner of the auction, which is currently around the $2.8m mark, will become the first people ever to fly on the reusable New Shepard rocket and would certainly made Mr Bezos the richest man to ever fly to space.
Once the rocket reaches the Kármán line, 100 kilometers above sea level, its capsule will detach from its booster to allow its passengers to look down on the Earth and to experience weightlessness.
The capsule is expected to land in the west Texas desert with the aid of parachutes.
Arch rival Elon Musk, founder of space exploration company SpaceX, has yet to fly in one of his rockets, while Sir Richard Branson hopes to board his own Virgin Galactic spaceflight later this year following a series of delays.
Mr Bezos’ younger brother Mark is director of the Bezos Family Foundation, co-founded the private equity firm HighPost Capital and formerly worked at Robin Hood, an anti-poverty charity based in New York.