Space travel is no easy feat -- and it comes at a price. Just ask Amazon founder and CEO, Washington Post owner and founder of space company Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos.
At the 33rd Space Symposium Conference on Wednesday, Bezos revealed that he is selling $1 billion of Amazon stock a year to fund Blue Origin. With 80.9 million shares and a 16.95 percent stake in the company, Bezos is the largest shareholder at Amazon, reports Reuters. To meet his funding pledge, the Amazon founder will have to sell more than 1 million of those shares a year.
Although for Bezos, this is almost pocket change -- over the past two years, Amazon’s stock has nearly tripled and with a market cap of $439.8 billion today, the company is more valuable than Walmart, Target, Costco, Macy’s and Kohl’s combined.
With Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic -- competition is high for entrepreneurs and leaders in the privately-funded space race, each looking to create reusable aircrafts and begin promoting life off Earth.
Bezos’s goal for Blue Origin is to offer paying passengers 11-minute commercial flights to space. And, “ultimately, the plan is for Blue Origin to become a profitable, self-sustaining enterprise, with a long-term goal to cut the cost of spaceflight so that millions of people can live and work off Earth,” Bezos said.
Although tickets aren’t for sale yet, the company could start offering rides on its six-passenger New Shepard capsule as early as next year. Pictures of the rocket were revealed last week, and for an estimated $300,000 a ticket you may be able to enjoy a trip to outer space. With reclined seats and large open windows, the New Shepard can carry people 100 miles above Earth to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and breathtaking views of Earth’s curvature. The current project, which includes the development of its New Glenn launch system, will cost an estimated $2.5 billion.