Jeff Bezos plans to be on board when his Blue Origin launches passengers into space for the first time, upping the stakes in the space tourism race.
Bezos, who is stepping down from his role as CEO of Amazon (AMZN 0.23%) on July 5, said in an Instagram post that he and his brother Mark will be among the crew when Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft launches next month. The launch is scheduled for July 20.
"Ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of traveling to space," Bezos said. "On July 20, I will take that journey with my brother."
Bezos is taking a page from fellow billionaire Richard Branson, who last year had planned to celebrate his 70th birthday by being among the passengers on the Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE -1.20%) inaugural flight. But Virgin has run into a series of testing delays, with the company now hoping to begin commercial service before the end of 2021.
Although Blue Origin has not gotten the attention that Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk's SpaceX have enjoyed, the company has methodically built its business thanks to an estimated $1 billion in funding from Bezos. It hopes to engage in a number of different commercial space businesses, including space tourism and launching payloads for government and commercial customers.
The New Shepard capsule is designed to take six passengers beyond 62 miles above sea level, the standard definition of where space begins.