A seat aboard Blue Origin’s first crewed flight to suborbital space fetched $28 million during a live auction on Saturday.
Why it matters: While the market for suborbital tourist flights to space may not be huge, experts say it's an important, public-facing part of the space industry that could popularize it as more people start flying.
Catch up quick: Saturday's live event was the finale in Blue Origin's multi-part auction for this seat on its New Shepard vehicle. The proceeds from the auction will benefit the company's STEM-focused foundation Club for the Future.
- "Wow, I need a second here," Ariane Cornell, director of astronaut and orbital sales at Blue Origin said during the webcast after the auction ended.
- The winner — who has not been revealed — will also be flying to the edge of space with Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark and a yet-to-be-shared fourth passenger.
- The flight is expected to launch July 20.
How it works: A flight aboard New Shepard takes about 11 minutes. The passengers launch within the capsule atop a rocket, reaching about 62 miles up into the air.
- The capsule then comes down under parachutes as the reusable rocket lands upright back on Earth.
The big picture: Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is also working to launch its first paying customers on suborbital flights to space, with Branson expected to potentially fly sometime this year.