SEATTLE (REUTERS) – Blue Origin, billionaire Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, disclosed that the current highest bid for a seat on its New Shepard spacecraft was US$2.4 million (S$3.2 million) in the ongoing second round of auction.
The company said it received more than 5,200 bidders from 136 countries in the first round of auction, the highest bid from which was not disclosed as the round was sealed.
The second round was kicked off with an initial bid of US$1.4 million, according to the Blue Origin website.
The process will last until June 10 and conclude in a final phase on June 12, with a live online auction.
The rocket company is targeting July 20 for its first sub-orbital sightseeing trip on its spacecraft, a landmark moment in a competition to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel.
The New Shepard rocket-and-capsule combo is designed to autonomously fly six passengers more than 100km above Earth into sub-orbital space.
Reuters reported in 2018 that Blue Origin was planning to charge passengers at least US$200,000 for the ride, based on an appraisal of rival plans from billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holdings and other considerations, though its thinking may have changed.