There are a lot of people out there who'd like to fire Jeff Bezos into space – but he's doing the honours himself

With his brother in tow, poor sod


Jeff Bezos has confirmed he will buckle up with his brother, Mark, next month and head into space as part of the first human flight on Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket.

In a short announcement on Instagram, the Amazon multibillionaire said: "Ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of travelling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend."

As part of the trip, one of the six seats in the capsule is up for auction with money on the table currently standing at $2.8m. At the time of writing, nearly 6,000 people from 143 countries had registered their interest to be part of the flight.

Bidding concludes this week with the lucky winner able to look forward to being strapped in with the Bezos boys and crew, being propelled more than 100km into space, floating around a bit in zero gravity before heading back to Earth and parachutes deploying to bring them to a soft landing.

The whole flight is expected to take around 10 minutes.

Bezos' love affair with space flight is well known after founding Blue Origin back in 2000 with grand visions of commercially viable space travel.

In 2018, El Reg covered Bezos' trip to Germany where he said, in effect, that he has so much money, the only thing he can think to blow it on is his Blue Origin space tourism project.

Asked what money means to him, Bezos said: "The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it.

"I am very lucky that I feel like I have a mission-driven purpose with Blue Origin that is, I think, incredibly important for civilization long term. And I am going to use my financial lottery winnings from Amazon to fund that."

As was eloquently pointed out at the time, this ambition to head to the stars was at the expense of others, in particular the tens of thousands on low wages who work for the internet giant.

Then there's the tax – or lack thereof – paid by Amazon. Last year, an exasperated Dame Margaret Hodge didn't hold back on her view after the company released its 2019 financials.

"Another day, another dollar as Amazon's wicked approach to taxation seems to go on unabated," said the Labour Member of Parliament for Barking.

"The corporation is flush with cash and the fortune of owner Jeff Bezos has soared to make him the richest person in the world. Yet Amazon ducks its responsibilities to UK taxpayers by shifting profits offshore using opaque corporate structures."

Bezos was last month estimated to be the second richest man on the planet with a fortune said to worth $186bn, some $300m lighter than Bernard Arnault, owner of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy.

The Amazon creator is due to step down as chief exec of Amazon early next month, which gives him a couple of weeks for final preparations ahead of his flight. He will be replaced at Amazon Corp by Andy Jassy. ®

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