Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin announced Thursday that 18-year-old Oliver Daemen will fly in place of the still anonymous $ 28 million winner of last month’s public auction.
Daemen will fly to the edge of space with Amazon founder, brother Mark Bezos and legendary space pioneer Wally Funk on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, due to launch on July 20.
The young physics student takes the place of the auction winner, who, according to Blue Origin, was unable to fly the mission “due to scheduling conflicts”. Blue Origin said the auction winner has chosen to fly on a future New Shepard mission.
Blue Origin described Daemen as the “first paying customer” to fly on New Shepard, and a spokesman told CNBC that “he entered the auction and secured a seat on the second flight”.
“We moved it upstairs when that seat became vacant on the first flight,” said Blue Origin.
The company confirmed that Daemen is the son of Somerset Capital Partners CEO Joes Daemen, who paid for the seat and flown Oliver instead. Somerset is a Dutch private equity firm based in Oisterwijk, the Netherlands, founded by Joes Daemen.
At 18, Daemen would be the youngest person to fly into space and Funk, 82, will also become the oldest person to become an astronaut.
A New Shepard missile launches the NS-10 test flight on January 23, 2019.
New Shepard, a rocket that propels a capsule to more than 340,000 feet, has flown more than a dozen successful passenger-free test flights, including one in April at the company’s facility in the Texas desert. It is designed for up to six people and flies autonomously – without the need for a pilot. The capsule has massive windows to allow passengers to view Earth for about three minutes in weightlessness before returning to Earth.
Blue Origin’s system launches vertically and both the rocket and capsule are reusable. The boosters land on a concrete slab at the company’s facility in Van Horn, Texas, while the capsules land with a set of parachutes.
Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 and owns the company, which he finances through the sale of his shares in Amazon.
July 20th is notable because it also marks the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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