Jeff Bezos is set to beat his billionaire buddies to space.
Bezos announced Monday that he will fly to space next month on Blue Origin’s first crewed flight.
The flight is scheduled for July 20, Bezos said in an Instagram post. That’s about two weeks after he is set to resign as CEO of Amazon.
Bezos’ younger brother Mark will join him, as will the winner of a public auction currently being held for another seat. Bidding on the auction stood at $2.8 million Monday morning.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos said Monday on Instagram. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
In a hashtag in the post, Bezos gave a nod to the Latin phrase, “Gradatim ferociter,” which means “step by step, ferociously.”
“I want to go on this flight because it’s the thing I’ve wanted to do all my life,” Bezos added in a video announcement. “It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.”
Barring surprises, the trip would make Bezos the first of the billionaire space tycoons to travel to space through their own companies. Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, and Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, have yet to ride with their companies to space.
Musk has spoken before about traveling to space with his company but has not yet given a firm timeline.
Branson, whose Virgin Galactic wants to compete directly with Blue Origin in the space tourism sector, has spoken often about his plans to be among the first of his company’s passengers to space. But delays have seen Virgin Galactic’s earliest expected passenger flights pushed to later this year.
New Shepard, Blue Origin’s rocket ship, has flown more than a dozen successful uncrewed test flights.
The system is designed to carry as many as six people at a time on a ride to the edge of space. The capsule has huge windows that give passengers a gaping view of Earth. Passengers will spend a few minutes in zero gravity before returning to Earth.
“To see the Earth from space, it changes you,” Bezos said Monday in the video.
The date of the company’s first crewed flight, July 20, will also mark the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Blue Origin is also working on rockets that could carry deliveries for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, putting the company in direct competition with Musk’s SpaceX.
Musk and Bezos have previously traded jabs over their space ventures. In April, Blue Origin officially challenged NASA’s decision to award a $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX to build a moon lander for American astronauts.
In response, Musk tweeted: “Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol.”
That appears to be a reference to the fact that Blue Origin has not yet achieved orbit with any of its rockets.
Musk later tweeted an image of Bezos with Blue Origin’s moon-lander prototype, which was edited to read, “blue balls.”