August 9, 2022

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A cryptocurrency entrepreneur paid $28M to ride Blue Origin into space, but missed his flight.

Blue Origin has announced the winner of an auction it held six months ago to visit space on the first New Shepard mission from West Texas.

Sun was identified Wednesday and announced that he purchased five additional seats on top of his $28 million bid. He will select five people to ride alongside him in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“I won the auction 6 months ago but missed the launch,” Sun said on Twitter. “However, this did not stop my love for space. So I’m very excited to announce this news and turn this opportunity into a voyage with 5 other warriors to space with me because I believe that space belongs to everyone!”

Sun is best known for founding the Tron cryptocurrency platform, though last week announced he’s phasing out of his leadership role at Tron and had accepted a new role as ambassador and permanent representative of Grenada to the World Trade Organization. Originally from China, Sun has lived in the Caribbean nation since 2019 and holds citizenship, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg also reported that Sun, 31, has gained notoriety for his high-profile bidding events, including a delayed meeting with billionaire investor Warren Buffett. He won an auction for lunch with Buffett, but that meal was delayed after he was pressured to apologize on Chinese social media for “excessively” promoting his meal with one of America’s richest people. And during the GameStop investment saga, Sun put $10 million into the company, he told Bloomberg TV.

For the Blue Origin flight, Sun said the five people selected to fly with him will “hold a special status in their field while having a strong will to explore space.” The first person will be a prominent figure in the crypto world, and the second person will be a TRON DAO community member with a strong passion for space. The third, fourth and fifth slots will go to a tech entrepreneur, an artist and a celebrity, respectively.

“Thanks to @JeffBezos, who has always been an idol of mine,” Sun said on Twitter. “His valuable experience has given me a lot of inspiration for entrepreneurship. Today, he is actively involved in space exploration. This enthusiasm for technology and the future has inspired me a lot.”

The $28 million that Sun paid for his ride into space went to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, and was used to provide 19 space-based charities with $1 million each. These nonprofits included Space Center Houston and SciArt Exchange, a Houston organization that offers contests and events to bring together the arts with space, science and technology.

Blue Origin did not disclose how much Sun paid for the other five seats. When asked why Sun didn’t ride on the first mission, a spokesperson said Sun requested to be scheduled for a later flight.

New Shepard is a reusable suborbital rocket system, which means Sun and his companions will take a quick jaunt into space and back without circling the Earth. Their entire ride will last about 10 minutes.

The 63-foot-tall system consists of a rocket booster and crew capsule that launch together and then separate as they approach the Kármán line 62 miles above the Earth. The capsule will coast farther above this line while the booster returns for a controlled, rocket-powered vertical landing.

Inside the spacecraft, occupants have time to admire the Earth before three drogue parachutes are deployed to slow and stabilize the capsule. These are followed by three main parachutes. Then, just before touchdown, a retro-thrust system expels a cloud of air beneath the capsule.

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https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/space/article/A-cryptocurrency-entrepreneur-paid-28M-to-ride-16722551.php