Amid an auction on Monday, May 9, Ken Griffin stole the seat for a Blue Origin trip into the stars. The founder and head of Citadel hedge fund purchased the seat at an $8 million premium, but instead of going to space with his newfound ticket, Griffin has decided to hand over his prize to an NYC teacher instead.
The auction was held at Robin Hood’s annual New York City benefit, with two seats being made available on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket via a “buy one give one” deal. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin donated the tickets to the non-profit event.
Winning this second seat was an NYC school teacher, thus spurring Griffin to partner up with Blue Origin, New York City’s Department of Education, and Robin Hood to allow a fellow educator to join in the spacefaring adventure. An announcement on all necessary information, including the “process and timeline,” as relayed by a Robin Hood spokesperson to CNBC, is coming in due time.
As for Blue Origin and its forthcoming journey into the stars, any official launch date for the New Shepard has yet to be announced. The rocket also wields a total of four additional seats that have yet to be filled. Blue Origin noted that these extra seats would be sold as normal and not auctioned off like the two others.
The spacefaring firm’s last flight successfully returned in late March, carrying, unlike its first-ever voyage, no one of particular fame. The 10-minute long journeys, wherein passengers experience suborbital views over the Earth, take New Shepard 340,000 feet into the sky at about 100 kilometers. These weightless views from high above only last about two minutes until the crew begins its return, but the moment is certainly worthy of its minuscule time.
Blue Origin’s first-ever flight, which was carried with Bezos himself, had a seat auctioned at the $28 million mark. The winner was an 18-year-old granted the seat via an anonymous bidder amid an auction in July 2021. Additional crew members on New Shepard’s maiden voyage included Mark Bezos, brother to Amazon and Blue Origin founder, as well as aerospace legend Wally Funk.
The rocket will launch from Blue Origin’s West Texas facility, but it’s unclear when and who else will be joining those lucky school teachers.
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