ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy looks at 'the billionaire spacerace' as Bezos looks set to win
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is primed to travel into Space next month, along with his brother aboard his Blue Origin rocket.
In an Instagram post, Bezos said he, his brother, and the winner of an ongoing auction, will be aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard space craft during its scheduled launch on July 20.
The world's richest man will take a 10 minute ride into Space on the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Mr Bezos will step down as chief executive of Amazon on July 5, to spend more time, among other things, focused on Blue Origin.
"To see the Earth from space, it changes you, changes your relationship with this planet.
"It’s one Earth," Mr Bezos said in the Instagram post.
The multi-billionaire said he'd wanted to go to space all his life, adding: "It’s a big deal for me."
Mr Bezos and his brother will be joined by the winner of an auction organised by the company, with the winning bid already a whopping £1.97 million.
Almost 6,000 participants from 143 countries have already put in cash.
The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help invent the future of life in space.
The flight will officially kick off Blue Origin’s space tourism business.
The company has yet to start selling tickets to the public or even to announce a ticket price for the short trips, which provide about three minutes of weightlessness.
The capsule can hold six people, each with their own large window.
The company hasn’t said who might occupy the remaining three seats on the debut passenger flight.
Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson also plans to launch aboard his own rocket later this year, after one more test flight over New Mexico.
SpaceX’s Elon Musk — who’s transported 10 astronauts to the International Space Station and already sold private flights — has yet to commit to a spaceflight.
Blue Origin successfully completed the 15th test flight of its reusable New Shepard rocket in April, with the capsule reaching an altitude of 66 miles (106 kilometers).
Before liftoff, a mock crew strapped into the capsule for practice, then hopped out, paving the way for the upcoming flight with passengers on board.