Bidding for Blue Origin's first human flight hits $4M

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Bidding for a seat on Blue Origin's first human flight next month already notched $4 million as the second phase of the online auction winds down. 

The aerospace company, founded by Jeff Bezos, kicked off a three-phase online auction in early May, offering one seat on the first flight of its New Shepard spacecraft, which has already had over a dozen successful flights to and from space, according to Blue Origin. 

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The highest bidder will sit beside Bezos, his brother, Mark Bezos, and New Shepard's first astronaut crew on a trip to space July 20. 

During the sealed portion of the online auction, which began May 5, bidders could submit "any amount" for the chance to ride into space. The second, unsealed phase of the online bidding ran through June 10. 

Bidding will conclude during a live online auction June 12.   

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The spacecraft – named after the first American in space, Alan Shepard – has already embarked on 15 successful consecutive missions above the Kármán Line, which is an imaginary boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space, according to Blue Origin. These missions include three successful escape tests "showing the crew escape system can activate safely in any phase of flight." 

According to the aerospace company, less than 600 astronauts have ever made it past the Kármán Line to "see the borderless Earth and the thin limb of our atmosphere." 

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Those who did "say this experience changes them," the company said in its auction announcement. 

Proceeds from the auction will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation Club for the Future in an effort to "inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space."

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