Oliver Daemen is expected to join the all-civilian crew of four for Tuesday’s scheduled flight and become the youngest person to go to space after the winner of the auction, whose name had not been released, withdrawn due to unspecified “scheduling conflicts”. Blue Origin said Thursday. The news makes Daemen the company’s first paying customer. It also means the flight would have to include the oldest person to ever be in space – 82-year-old pioneer aviator Wally Funk – and the youngest, according to Blue Origin.
Bezos and his brother Mark Bezos will join them for the suborbital launch of Blue Origin.
Daemen is working to earn his pilot’s license and plans to attend Utrecht University in the Netherlands to study physics and innovation management in September, Blue Origin said. His father, Joe Daemen, is CEO and founder of Dutch investment firm Somerset Capital Partners, based in Oisterwijk, the Netherlands.
The elder Daemen “paid for the seat and chose to pilot Oliver,” Blue Origin said. The company declined to say how much was paid.
“Flying on New Shepard will fulfill the dream of a lifetime for Oliver, who has been fascinated by space, the moon and rockets since the age of four,” the company said in a press release.
Bezos is locked in a race with billionaire rivals Richard Branson and Elon Musk as they seek to usher in a new era of commercial space travel in a tourism market that Swiss bank UBS says could be worth $ 3 billion a year in a decade.
New Shepard is a fully self-contained 18.3-meter-tall rocket-capsule combo that cannot be flown from inside the spacecraft. The launch is scheduled for a site in West Texas.
Branson, the billionaire British businessman, was aboard his company Virgin Galactic’s rocket plane on Sunday for his pioneering suborbital flight from New Mexico.