Thu, 24 Jun 2021

KENT, Washington: Spaceflight company Blue Origin will sell a seat to the general public on its first crewed flight to the edge of space scheduled for July.

The seat will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The flight will lift off from the company's spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, about 120 miles southeast of El Paso.

Blue Origin, founded by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, says bids will remain sealed until May 19, after which those seeking to participate can view all bids online.

On June 12 an online auction will conclude the bidding and the winner will be announced.

"The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin's foundation, Club for the Future, to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space," the company announced.

Blue Origins has established physical requirements the winning bidder must meet. The space tourists must be physically fit, weigh between 110 pounds and 223 pounds and stand between 5 feet and 6 feet, 4 inches tall.

Further, the winner will need to be able to withstand up to 3Gs during liftoff and 5.5 Gs during descent.

In April, Blue Origin completed its last test flight prior to carrying a flight crew into space. Future plans call for developing a space tourism business that ferries the public into space.

"You don't need to be a NASA astronaut, you don't need to be a trained engineer. We want artists and poets, teachers and scientists," said Kevin Sproge, Blue Origin's director of space architecture for New Shepard, as quoted by United Press International.

The crew capsule has been designed with noise dampening materials to reduce the roar during flight, along with interior temperature thermometers, crew display panels, and speakers with a microphone and push-to-talk button at each seat.

The world's first space tourist was California businessman Dennis Tito who paid Russia's space agency $20 million to become the first tourist in space in 2001.

Tito was launched to the International Space Station for his stay in space, before the Russians returned him to Earth.

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