“This is a dream come true!” Mr. Daemen said in a news release from the family. “I hadn’t counted on this at all until last week that surprising phone call from Blue Origin came. This is so unbelievably cool! The flight to and into space only takes 10 minutes, but I already know that these will be the most special 10 minutes of my life.”
Blue Origin’s spacecraft, New Shepard, is designed for brief space-tourist flights, similar to Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. But, unlike Virgin Galactic’s space plane design, New Shepard is more of a traditional rocket that launches vertically. Near the top of the arc, the capsule, where up to six people sit, separates from the booster. The booster and the capsule coast to an altitude above 62 miles, regarded by many as the boundary of outer space. The capsule’s landing is slowed by a parachute.
On this first flight, there will be four people aboard: Mr. Daemen; Mr. Bezos; Mr. Bezos’ brother, Mark; and Mary Wallace Funk, a pilot who in the 1960s was among a group of women who passed the same rigorous criteria that NASA used for selecting astronauts. But that was at a time when the space agency had no interest in selecting women as astronauts.
At 18, Mr. Daemen will be the youngest person ever to go to space. At 82, Ms. Funk, who goes by Wally, will be the oldest.
According to the family’s news release, Mr. Daemen and his father, Joes Daemen, founder of Somerset Capital Partners in the Netherlands, were intrigued by the possibility of getting on the flight. “But when the bids started to skyrocket during the auction, we dropped out,” Joes Daemen said.
Blue Origin did not reveal how much the Daemens were paying for the seat; it has not yet publicly announced a price for tickets. According to the Daemens, the price is a lot lower than the $28 million winning bid. The money they paid will be donated by Blue Origin to a charity that has not yet been determined.
On Wednesday, Blue Origin announced that $19 million from the $28 million winning bid will go to 19 space-related nonprofit organizations — $1 million each. The recipients include AstraFemina, a collective of women in science and engineering who aim to serve as role models to girls; the Brook Owens Fellowship, which offers paid internships and fellowships to undergraduate women; and Higher Orbits, an experimental learning lab for high school students.
Kitty Bennett contributed research and Claire Moses contributed translation.