The anonymous winner of a ticket to join billionaire Jeff Bezos in space next week will no longer board the New Shepard spacecraft due to “scheduling conflicts,” Bezos’ company Blue Origin announced Thursday.
The winner, who paid $ 29.7 million to join one of the world’s richest men in space, will instead be replaced by Oliver Daemen, a recent high school graduate. The 18-year-old took a year off in 2020 to earn his private pilot license and plans to study physics and innovation management at Utrecht University in the Netherlands in September.
Daemen is the son of Joes Daemen, CEO of Somerset Capital Partners BV, an investment company based in the Netherlands. The cost of Daemen’s ticket, which his father bought, has not yet been disclosed.
In one video Posted on Twitter, Daemen said, “I’m super excited to go to space” and “I’ve dreamed of it all my life. “Oliver represents a new generation of people who will help us build a road to space,” Blue Origin said in a statement.
Besides Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark Bezos, Daemen will be joined by Wally Funk, an 82-year-old American veteran pilot. “At 18 and 82, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk represent the youngest and oldest astronauts to travel in space,” according to Bezos’ company.
The New Shepard spacecraft, due to take off in West Texas next Tuesday, will launch its passengers more than 100 km above the Earth’s surface for a mission estimated to take around 10 minutes. Three to four of those minutes will be spent in space.
The launch date coincides with the 51st anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, in 1969.
More than 7,600 bidders from 159 countries participated in the auction. Proceeds will go to the Club for the Future, a nonprofit that promotes careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Blue Origin also announced that it is allocating $ 1 million each to 19 nonprofit and advocacy organizations, including the National Space Society and the International Astronautical Federation.
The winner of the original ticket will fly off on a subsequent New Shepard mission, according to Blue Origin.