Jeff Bezos announced Thursday that an 18-year-old will become the youngest astronaut in history by traveling into space on the inaugural flight of the Blue Origin spacecraft on July 20. Now it became known that Oliver Daemen will travel because a millionaire who had won an auction for $ 28 million “had a setback.”
More than 7,600 people from 159 countries participated in the month-long auction, which ended on June 12. The winning bid was for $ 28 million, and Blue Origin said it would reveal the winner at a later date.
On Thursday, just five days before the flight, Blue Origin had yet to reveal the winner, but said in a press release that this person decided “Postponing their trip to a future New Shepard release due to a scheduling setback.”
The news began to circulate virally because it is striking that someone who pays $ 28 million has a priority on their calendar over going to space after winning the place in an auction.
At 18, Daemen will go into space. AP Photo
Instead, Daemen, the son of the CEO of a private equity investment firm and one of the finalists in the auction, will take the seat.
Who is Oliver Daemen
Oliver Daemen will go into space with Bezos. AP Photo
Oliver Daemen, fresh out of high school in 2020 and holder of a private pilot’s license, is a young Dutch man whose father had participated in the auction.
“This marks the beginning of the business operations of (the ship) New Shepard, and Oliver represents a new generation of people who will help us build a path to space“said Bob Smith, CEO of the company.
The New Shepard will allow Daemen to fulfill a life dream, who has been fascinated by space, the moon and rockets since he was four years old, according to a statement, the AFP news agency reported.
The young man plans to attend the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands in September to study physics and innovation management.
The company did not specify Oliver Daemen’s nationality, but it later emerged that he is Dutch.
Daemen will join Bezos, his brother, Mark, and veteran pilot Wally Funk, 82, aboard the first manned flight of the New Shepard spacecraft, so the feat will reunite the astronauts youngest and oldest to travel to space.
Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the richest man in the world, hopes to join Richard Branson in the club of billionaires who have reached space in a ship built by his own company.
Although Bezos will be in second place, Blue Origin boasts that his travel experience is superior to that of Virgin galactic, because unlike its competitor, the New Shepard crosses the internationally recognized boundary of space, at an altitude of 100 kilometers.
The company’s ambitions do not stop at space tourism, as it now hopes to become a major subcontractor for NASA missions.
Currently, Elon Musk’s SpaceX firm is the main private sector partner for the US space agency, which includes bringing several astronauts to the International Space Station since 2020.
SpaceX is also developing a distant space exploration rocket for future manned missions to Mars.