New Delhi: Blue Origin, Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos’ space venture announced that their first launch is set for July 20th 2021. They are also offering one of the seats to the winner of an online auction, the company said Wednesday.

Blue Origin said the bidding will be unsealed on May 19 before a final-stage live online auction on July 12 when the winner is announced.

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The trip will last a total of ten minutes out of which 4 minutes will be spent above the Karman line that marks the recognized boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space. 

“We’ve been perfecting our ability to launch, land and repeat,” a video accompanying the announcement said.

“Our next launch will be the first time astronauts will fly aboard New Shepard.”

According to an AFP report, the reusable suborbital rocket system New Shepard has successfully carried out 15 test runs without a crew on board launching from its facility in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas. It was named after Alan Shepard, who sixty years ago became the first American in space.

The report said that the capsule will carry six crew members and after lift off it will separate from its booster, then spends four minutes at an altitude exceeding 60 miles (100 kilometers), during which time those on board experience weightlessness and can observe the curvature of Earth from space.

The booster lands autonomously on a pad two miles from the launch site, and the capsule floats back to the surface with three large parachutes that slow it down to about a mile an hour when it lands.

Though Blue Origin has not published its prices but its clientele is expected to mainly be wealthy individuals. The auction proceeds will go to the company’s foundation, Club for the Future, which aims to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM. 

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