The champion of Blue Origin’s $28 million bid for a ticket on their hypersonic spaceship revealed himself today — and he’s buying tickets for five more people to join him in a year or so.
It’s difficult to imagine a more eccentric résumé than the one put up by Justin Sun, the 31-year-old crypto pioneer who won the auction.
He is a Chinese-born businessman who invented the Tron cryptocurrency system and is the CEO of Rainberry Inc., the former BitTorrent Inc. file-sharing firm.
Sun, a protégé of Chinese tycoon Jack Ma, recently obtained citizenship in Grenada, a Caribbean island nation. He was designated Grenada’s envoy to the World Trade Organization in Geneva the other week.
Despite his modest net worth (estimated at $200 million), he is no newcomer to high-stakes negotiating. He bid $4.6 million in 2019 simply to have lunch with Warren Buffett, the billionaire.
Sun said he was attracted to Blue Origin’s concept of bringing spaceflight to a larger audience.
“With the rapid growth of commercial aircraft, going to space might become a goal that anybody can achieve in their lifetime.” We’ve arrived at the dawn of a new age in spaceflight. “More people need to join part in this fantastic adventure,” Sun remarked in a news release.
He also mentioned Blue Origin’s nonprofit educational foundation, the Club for the Future, which is donating millions of dollars from Sun’s proposal to 19 space-related causes.
“Blue Origin’s effort to send more people to space to perceive Earth as our sole shared home is remarkable,” Sun added. “Club for the Future provides a chance to leverage that experience to inspire youngsters all across the globe to dream about science, technology, and space exploration and to act on those ambitions.” Through my bid, I felt obligated to contribute to the realisation of that goal.”
Sun is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to Blue Origin.
At the time of the sale, it was expected that the winning bidder would fly with Jeff Bezos, who founded Blue Origin as a privately held space business several years after launching Amazon, on Blue Origin’s first crewed trip in July. However, owing to a scheduling difficulty, Blue Origin stated that the winner would have to fly at a later date.
The cause of the debate has remained unknown. However, news reports stated that Sun was working on a blockchain-related research project at the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Party School shortly after Blue Origin’s historic expedition.
Sun said he will choose five other individuals to accompany him on the “Sea of Stars” expedition next year in Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital space vehicle. The mission would take out from New Shepard’s Launch Site One in West Texas, following the company’s standard flight profile. During a 10-minute up-and-down voyage, the six space fliers would experience a few minutes of weightlessness and enjoy a view of the curving Earth via the capsule’s large windows.
Each of Sun’s spacecraft mates will be chosen based on a certain set of parameters. “Names of the five space fighters will be disclosed consecutively in the following year,” Sun tweeted.
“Our first nominee will be a well-known crypto personality who enjoys traveling in the Metaverse. “Can you guess who it is?” Sun remarked.
A member of the Tron crypto community, a tech entrepreneur, and an “artist who has the biggest visions of space and the future of humanity,” according to Sun, would be among the other finalists. In the next months, further information about the nomination process will be released.
Sun is paying the airfare for his five crewmates separately from the $28 million he bid for his own seat, according to a Blue Origin representative. “We do not divulge the ticket purchasing price,” a spokeswoman stated.