Amazon.com, Inc. founder Jeff Bezos will ride his own New Shepard rocket on its first manned flight, his aerospace company Blue Origin Federation, LLC said Tuesday.
The flight is scheduled for July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing - and just 15 days after Bezos steps down as chief executive officer of Amazon.
His brother Mark, a firefighter, will join him. "I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend," CNN quoted Bezos as saying.
The New Shepard capsule, which operates autonomously, will lift off from Blue Origin's West Texas launch pad. The flight will last around 11 minutes and fly more than 60 miles above Earth.
Blue Origin competitors are Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Virgin Galactic. Both have announced a series of trips to transport individuals and cargoes high above the planet.
"Ever since I was 5 years old, I've dreamed of traveling to space," Bezos, 57, said on Instagram. "I want to go on this flight because it's a thing I've wanted to do all my life," the billionaire said.
Bezos founded Blue Origin more than 20 years ago. He is the wealthiest person in the world. According to Forbes magazine, he has a net worth of $186 billion.
Bidding for a seat on the New Shepard had reached almost $3 million when Bezos announced his plan to take the space flight. The auction ends June 12.
Blue Origin's achievements lag behind those of SpaceX, Elon Musk's rocket company that has been launching its Falcon 9 rockets to orbit on a regular basis for more than 10 years.
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