A Dutch teenager who secured a seat on Jeff Bezos’ upcoming spaceflight is set to become the youngest person to travel to space.
According to Blue Origins, 18-year-old physics student Oliver Daemen will be the first “paying customer” to fly on board the company’s New Shepard rocket. The aerospace manufacturer, founded by Bezos in 2000, said Daemen had landed a spot on the company’s first-ever crewed spaceflight this week, after the original winner of a seat auction was forced to bow out due to “scheduling conflicts.”
Blue Origins didn’t reveal the identity of the winning bidder, who reportedly put down $28 million for the historic flight, but confirmed Daemen had the second-highest bid, giving him the fourth seat on the rocket. The teen will be joined by Bezos; Bezos’ brother Mark Bezos; and legendary pilot Wally Funk, who at 82 will become the oldest person to fly to space.
“We thank the auction winner for their generous support of Club for the Future and are honored to welcome Oliver to fly with us on New Shepard,” said Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin. “This marks the beginning of commercial operations for New Shepard, and Oliver represents a new generation of people who will help us build a road to space.”
According to CNN, Daemen graduated from high school last year and plans to attend University of Utrecht this fall. It’s unclear how much Daemen had paid for the seat, but a source told the network that it was purchased by his father, Joes Daemen, the founder/CEO of Somerset Capital Partners.
“I am super excited to go to space ...” Daemen said in a Twitter video. “I’ve been dreaming about this all my life and I will become the youngest astronaut ever because I’m 18 years old. I am super excited to experience zero-G and see the world from above. Thank you so much for the people at Blue Origin for making this happen and making New Shepard.”
Blue Origin’s first crewed spaceflight is scheduled for Tuesday.