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$28M bid secures ride on spaceship Early voting starts for NYC primary

by The Associated Press | June 13, 2021 at 4:12 a.m.

$28M bid secures

ride on spaceship

The Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- An auction for a ride into space next month alongside Jeff Bezos and his brother ended with a winning $28 million bid Saturday.

The Amazon founder's rocket company, Blue Origin, did not disclose the winner's name after the live online auction. The identity will be revealed in a couple weeks -- closer to the brief up-and-down flight from West Texas on July 20, the 52nd anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's moon landing.

It will be the first launch of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket with people on board, kicking off the company's space tourism business. Fifteen previous test flights of the reusable rocket and capsule since 2015 -- short hops lasting about 10 minutes -- were all successful.

Saturday's auction followed more than a month of online bidding that reached $4.8 million by Friday. More than 7,500 people from 159 countries registered to bid, according to Blue Origin. More than 20 bidders -- the high rollers -- took part in Saturday's auction.

Bezos announced Monday that he and his younger brother, Mark, would be on board New Shepard's first crew flight; the news quickly boosted bidding. The winning amount is being donated to Blue Origin's Club for the Future, an educational effort to promote science and tech among young people.

The completely automated capsule can carry up to six passengers, each with their own big window. Blue Origin's top sales director, Ariane Cornell, said after the auction that the fourth and final seat on the debut crew flight will be announced soon.

Blue Origin has yet to open ticket sales to the public or divulge prices.

Early voting starts

for NYC primary

The Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Candidates in New York City's heavily contested Democratic mayoral primary on Saturday urged people to go to the polls in the coming days as early voting kicked off.

The start of early voting around the state marks the homestretch to primary election day on June 22. As some city mayoral candidates voted, others spoke at a get-out-the-vote rally hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is remaining neutral in the race.

"Why on earth would you wait until the last day?" candidate Andrew Yang asked at the event. "You can vote right now. You can vote tomorrow. You can vote Monday. You can vote Tuesday. I don't know about you all, but I would feel great having gotten it out of the way."

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has topped some recent polls, though the 13-candidate race remains tight. Other top contenders include 2020 presidential candidate Yang, former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, city Comptroller Scott Stringer and civil-rights attorney Maya Wiley.

This primary is especially hard to predict because the city is debuting ranked-choice voting, with voters ranking up to five candidates.

Garcia was among those who voted Saturday morning in Brooklyn.

"It was a challenge to rank all five," Garcia said, according to the New York Post. "It was very easy for number one."

Wiley told attendees at the Sharpton event that with early voting, New York is one of the few states expanding voting rights rather than curtailing them.

Democrats dominate in New York City, and the winner of the party's primary is considered highly likely to win the general election in November and succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Republican primary features Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa and Fernando Mateo, a restaurant owner and advocate for taxi drivers.

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