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Mystery person buys ticket to space

AP, June 14, 2021 6:45PM Kids News

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Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard's West Texas, US, launch facility before the rocket's first test flight voyage in 2015. Picture: AFP/Blue Origin media_cameraJeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard's West Texas, US, launch facility before the rocket's first test flight voyage in 2015. Picture: AFP/Blue Origin

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A mystery person has bought a ticket to space for $36 million.

The space flight is planned for July and will be alongside Jeff Bezos and Mr Bezos’s brother.

The person bought the trip as part of a live online auction that ended on Saturday, US time.

Mr Bezos, who founded technology company Amazon and rocket company Blue Origin, did not disclose* the winning bidder’s name. The identity will be revealed in a couple of weeks.

The brief up-and-down flight from West Texas, US will be on July 20, the 52nd anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s Moon landing.

It will be the first launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket with people on board, kicking off* the company’s space tourism business. Fifteen previous test flights of the reusable rocket and capsule since 2015 — short hops lasting about 10 minutes — were all successful.

media_cameraAn artist’s illustration of the Blue Origin Crew Capsule that will be used to take the ticketholder into space. Picture: Blue Origin via AP
media_cameraThe interior of the Blue Origin Crew Capsule. Picture: AFP/Blue Origin

Saturday’s auction followed more than a month of online bidding that reached $6.23 million by Friday. More than 7500 people from 159 countries registered to bid, according to Blue Origin. More than 20 bidders actually took part in Saturday’s auction.

Mr Bezos announced on the previous Monday that he and his younger brother, Mark, would be on board New Shepard’s first crew flight; the news quickly boosted bidding.

The winning amount is being donated to Blue Origin’s Club for the Future, an educational effort to promote science and technology among young people.

The completely automated* capsule can carry up to six passengers, each with their own big window. Blue Origin’s head of sales, Ariane Cornell, said after the auction that the fourth and final seat on the debut crew flight will be announced soon.

Blue Origin has yet to open ticket sales to the public or share ticket prices.

First space tourist flights could come in 2019 media_cameraThe New Shepard booster, which will carry the Blue Origin capsule into space, launching from West Texas, US. Picture: AFP/ Blue Origin

GLOSSARY

  • disclose: share information
  • kicking off: beginning
  • automated: programmed so it doesn’t need a driver or operator

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What is the ticket for?
  2. How much did it cost?
  3. Who is Jeff Bezos?
  4. Who is going into space?
  5. Where will the spacecraft launch from and when?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Space Business
There are currently three major players in the space tourism industry – Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX. Imagine you are the next up-and-coming billionaire space tycoon:

  • Create a name and logo for your company
  • Name your rocket ship
  • Write a mission statement for your company
  • Explain how your company will provide a unique or better service than your competitors so that customers will choose to fly to space with you.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
How does the idea of flying into space make you feel? Excited? Terrified? Draw a picture of yourself as a space tourist about to climb aboard the rocket. Show your emotion in your facial expression and label three other things that might be happening to your body related to this feeling.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social Capability; Visual Arts

VCOP ACTIVITY
I Spy Nouns
Nouns are places, names (of people and objects), and time (months or days of the week).

How many nouns can you find in the article?

Can you sort them into places, names and time?

Pick three nouns and add an adjective (describing word) to the nouns.

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