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Bezos's Blue Origin Sets First Human Spaceflight

Blue Origin, the rocket maker founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, has set July 20 for its first mission carrying people to space.

The company plans to auction off one seat on its New Shepard rocket for the 11-minute trip to suborbital space, an altitude of about 62 miles. That seat will be the only one available for purchase on the flight, and the proceeds will go to Blue Origin's foundation, Club for the Future, which promotes math and science education.

The plans signal significant progress for Blue Origin as it vies with Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Richard Branson-backed Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. to create a market for tourism rides into space. Bezos hinted on social media after an April 14 test flight that the time for Blue Origin to carry passengers was nearing.

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