A few weeks after stepping down as CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos will embark on a journey to the edge of space atop one of his rockets, alongside his brother. It is a mission that will fulfill their lifetime ambition.

The announcement was made through an Instagram video by Bezos, saying he and his brother Mark would go into space on July 20th aboard the New Shepard spacecraft developed by Bezos' Blue Origin space business. In May, the company said that a crewed flight will take place on the maiden launch, but did not specify whether Bezos would be on board.

Bezos added that going to space has been a lifelong ambition of his. Having his brother there for the experience will be "meaningful," he said.

"If you see the earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It's one earth," Bezos said in a video posted to Instagram on Monday morning. "Ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of traveling to space."

New Shepard: What Is This?

Science Times - Blue Origin Announces It’s Getting ‘Really Close’ to Flying Humans
(Photo: NASA on Wikimedia Commons)
An artist's conception of the New Shepard spacecraft then under development by Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., for NASA's Commercial Crew Program CCP. In 2011, NASA selected Blue Origin to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station.

Jeff and Mark Bezos will join the winner of an auction for a ticket aboard the New Shepard to take part in the voyage. The highest bid is currently at least $2 million, Science Times previously reported.

Until June 10th, Blue Origin is holding an open online bidding campaign. The winner will be determined by a live auction two days later.

The New Shepard is named after astronaut Alan Shepard. NASA said Shepard was the first American to journey to space. New Shepard has a capsule that can hold up to six astronauts. The spaceflight, according to Blue Origin, will last 11 minutes.

Since 2012, Blue Origin claims to have begun flight-testing the rocket and its safety features.

How Safe Will Blue Origin Flight Be?

Human spaceflight is a high-risk endeavor. Modern rockets and crew capsules are very complex vehicles that create thrust using combinations of potentially explosive liquid propellants. However, most contain emergency abort mechanisms to protect astronauts in the case of an accident.

Blue Origin's website claimed that it had launched New Shepard 15 times from its West Texas launch pad since 2012 with no problems with the crew capsule atop the rocket. The space tourist capsule travels vertically with the booster, separates at a certain altitude, then deploys parachutes and ignites retro rockets to slow its descent before landing near the original launch site.

Meanwhile, the booster returns to its launch site automatically and lands vertically. SpaceX's crew Falcon 9 rocket is reusable and lands on a drone ship in the Atlantic. At the same time, the Crew Dragon capsule splashes down in the Gulf of Mexico rather than the Texas desert.

ALSO READ: SpaceX to Reuse Dragon Spacecraft Fleet After Rocket Booster from NASA Crew-1 'Leaned'

Ticket prices are still being determined, but many experts anticipate that a New Shepard expedition will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per person.

Who is Mark Bezos?

Mark Bezos previously worked in advertising. He created and sold his own marketing agency in the early 2000s.

Following his experience in advertising, he went on to work for Robin Hood. This New York City-based poverty-fighting organization is not to be confused with Robinhood, the investment app. Mark Bezos is also well-known for his volunteer work as a firefighter in Westchester County, New York.

Mark Bezos is also a director of the Bezos Family Foundation and serves on several technological businesses, The Independent said. He most recently led New York-based HighPost Capital, a private equity fund controlled by the Bezos family, according to investment tracker Crunchbase. According to Reuters, the firm "focused on prospects with family-controlled and entrepreneur-led enterprises."

Don't Forget About Elon Musk!

Bezos isn't the only tech mogul with big plans for the future. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, leads his own aerospace business, SpaceX. The company made history by becoming the first private firm to launch humans into space from American soil in May 2020, USA Today said.

NASA was paying Russia to put its astronauts aboard Soyuz spacecraft after the space shuttle program ended in 2011. The cost of a Soyuz seat in 2020 was estimated to be around $85 million.

Science Times previously reported that a SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship safely brought four astronauts home in early May after a six-month trip to the International Space Station.

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