Jeff Bezos is simultaneously living out two fantasies: what many would like to do if they were rich, and what many would like to do to rich people. Via CNN, the world’s wealthiest man is launching himself into space.
Earlier this year, the Amazon founder announced he would be stepping down as CEO on July 5th to focus on his other initiatives. Those include Blue Origin, a space exploration company with an eye on extreme tourism. While fellow billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson have been trumpeting the potential for their companies SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin has been preparing in relative secret. Now, it’s suddenly ready. Bezos and his brother Mark will set out on the project’s first manned flight on July 20th — only 15 days after he steps back at Amazon.
The Bezos brothers will be boarding a rocket called New Shepard. It’s set to travel 60 miles above Earth to the atmospheric range known as the mesophere, which is above the stratosphere but far short of the outer reaches of Earth’s exophere. The whole thing will take about 11 minutes, and pair will also be joined by the winner of an online auction at the Blue Origin website. The current highest bid is $2.8 million.
In an Instagram post, Bezos spoke about fulfilling a lifelong dream, and shared footage of the moment he invited his brother to come along. “Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” he wrote in the caption. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.” You can watch the video below.
Bezos tends to be cagey about his future plans, and there’s no telling what else he has in store. But after July 5th he’ll still be Executive Chairman at Amazon, advising on the company’s overall trajectory even if he is removed from day-to-day decision making. That opens up some interesting possibilities. Amazon recently purchased MGM, which means Bezos could do theoretically do anything from casting himself in a Bond film to leaking the fabled racist Donald Trump tapes from The Apprentice.