(AP) — Jeff Bezos will ride his own rocket into space next month, joining the first crew to fly in a Blue Origin capsule.
The Amazon founder announced Monday he will launch July 20 from Texas along with his firefighter brother Mark. Also making the 10-minute up-and-down hop will be the highest bidder in a charity auction.
Bezos is stepping down as Amazon’s CEO on July 5 — just 15 days before liftoff — to spend more time on his space company as well as his newspaper, The Washington Post. His stake in Amazon is currently worth $164 billion.
“To see the Earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one Earth,” Bezos, 57, said in an Instagram post. “I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.”
Bezos said he invited his younger brother — his best friend — to share the journey and make it even more “meaningful.”
The flight will officially kick off Blue Origin’s space tourism business. The company has yet to start selling tickets to the public or even to announce a ticket price for the short trips, which provide about three minutes of weightlessness. The capsule can hold six people, each with their own large window. The company hasn’t said who might occupy the remaining three seats on the debut passenger flight.
Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson also plans to launch aboard his own rocket later this year, after one more test flight over New Mexico. SpaceX’s Elon Musk — who’s transported 10 astronauts to the International Space Station and already sold private flights — has yet to commit to a spaceflight.