Jeff Bezos donates $200m ahead of world’s first civilian crew unpiloted suborbital flight

Jeff Bezos donates $200 million to Smithsonian institute ahead of making history. Which is by being the world’s first unpiloted edge of space flight with the all-civilian crew. It will be an 11-minutes ride to the suborbital of the earth on 20th July.

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As competition in the space tourism sector, Jeff Bezos is known to have been beaten by Richard Benson. However, Bezos’s Blue Origin provides a unique trip on its own where it is unpiloted. Also, Blue Origin’s New Shepard will go further away from earth than compared to Benson’s Virgin Galactic.


The Smithson Institute announced on 14th July that Jeff Bezos will be donating their largest donation since 1846. The $200 million donations will be split as $70 million on renovation and $130 million supporting a new education center. Smithson Institution is known as “the world’s largest museum, education and research complex,” located in Washington, US.

Jeff Bezos talked about his donation, “The Smithsonian plays a vital role in igniting the imaginations of our future builders and dreamers. “Every child is born with great potential, and it’s an inspiration that unlocks that potential. My love affair with science, invention, and space did that for me, and I hope this gift does that for others.”

Furthermore, Smithson statement, “The gift will also help enable a technological transformation of the museum’s galleries and public spaces, including the creation of new interactive experiences to inspire visitors, students, teachers, and families,”

Making history

No suborbital space launch ever included autonomous flight with the all-civilian crew. Blue Origin has astronauts and other employees who made this possible. However, no expert will be joining the all-civilian crew.

Blue Origin’s 60-foot-tall New Shepard is fully autonomous and cannot be piloted from inside the capsule. Teal Group space industry analyst Marco Caceres said, “there has never before been a fully autonomous suborbital or orbital flight with an all-civilian crew.”

Jeff Bezos’s spaceflight competitor Richard Benson’s flight included two pilots and a chief astronaut instructor with lead operations engineer. Space experience through both spaceflights may be the same, but Bezos will be using an actual rocket. While Benson used a rocket-powered space plane that drops mid-air from a carrier plane.

Competition would increase when Elon Musk’s SpaceX comes into the picture. As they plan to break more records by sending civilian crew for several days to space. SpaceX already broke records by using the same rocket booster more than 10 times.

Regardless, Jeff Bezos’ flight is on a journey to break records. One of the people familiar with the company’s thinking said to Reuters, “It’s simple math. If you design a system so that you don’t need a pilot or a co-pilot you can have more paying customers.”