Van Horn, Texas: Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company, Blue Origin, has sold nearly $100 million worth of tickets for future passenger flights to the edge of space, the billionaire founder announced on Tuesday.
The company has not disclosed prices for seats on its New Shepard rocket.
Bezos said Blue Origin is “going to fly human missions twice more this year” but said he’s “not sure yet” how many crewed New Shepard launches the company will attempt in 2022.
Blue Origin currently has two New Shepard rocket boosters at its facility in Texas, one for research cargo flights and the other for passenger flights.
Bezos was not the first billionaire to space to fly on a craft he helped fund — thanks to Richard Branson and his company, Virgin Galactic, which rocketed into space only nine days prior.
In addition to the Amazon founder, New Shepard was crewed by Jeff Bezos’ brother, Mark Bezos, pilot Wally Funk and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen. At 82 years old, Funk is the oldest person to go to space — and she had decades of piloting experience under her belt.
Upon landing successfully, the crew popped a bottle of champagne, and Jeff Bezos called it the “best day ever.” Later, during a press conference, each passenger aboard the New Shepard rocket was presented with Blue Origin’s wings to commemorate their trip.
Soon after his space flight, Bezos unveiled a pair of “Courage and Civility” awards, valued at $100 million apiece, which he said he would hand over to two recipients, no strings attached: “No bureaucracy. No committees. They just do what they want.” The awardees were chef José Andrés—whose charity, World Central Kitchen, helps feed masses of people following natural disasters—and Van Jones, who has founded many nonprofits but is best known as a CNN political commentator.