A mystery bidder has splashed out $28m (£20m) for a ticket to travel to space with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.
The sky-high bid was made at a live phone auction on Saturday, concluding a lengthy bidding process for a seat on the maiden voyage of the billionaire’s Blue Origin company.
Bids reached $20m within four minutes of the auction opening, and bidding closed after seven minutes.
Blue Origin did not reveal the identity of the winning bidder, but said their name would be released in the coming weeks.
The money raised from the auction will be donated to Blue Origin’s charitable foundation Club for the Future.
The launch of the company’s New Shephard rocket from West Texas on 20 July would be a landmark moment in the development of commercial private space travel.
Bezos will also be joined on the flight by his brother Mark and an unnamed space tourist.
The Amazon founder, who is the world’s wealthiest man and a lifelong space enthusiast, has been racing against fellow billionaires Richard Branson and Elon Musk to travel beyond the earth’s atmosphere.
The planned flight comes just weeks after Bezos plans to step down as chief executive of Amazon.
But the tycoon’s plans could be overshadowed by rival Branson, who is reportedly set to join a possible test flight to the edge of space at the beginning of July aboard Virgin’s VSS Unity spaceplane.