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REFILE-Blue Origin discloses $2 mln as current highest bid for seat on space flight

(Corrects name of spacecraft in paragraph 1)

May 19 (Reuters) - Blue Origin, billionaire Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, disclosed $2 million as the current highest bid for a seat on its New Shepard spacecraft after the startup closed the first phase of its auction.

The second phase of the auction is underway and will last until June 10. The process will conclude in a final phase on June 12 with a live online auction. (www.blueorigin.com)

The rocket company is targeting July 20 for its first suborbital sightseeing trip on its spacecraft, a landmark moment in a competition to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel.

The New Shepard rocket-and-capsule combo is designed to autonomously fly six passengers more than 62 miles (100 km) above Earth into suborbital space.

Reuters reported in 2018 that Blue Origin was planning to charge passengers at least $200,000 for the ride, based on an appraisal of rival plans from billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc and other considerations, though its thinking may have changed. (Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas and Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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