Everything about Oliver Daemen: Bezos's 18-year-old Blue Origin spaceflight co-passenger
Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic might have found its first celebrity customer in Elon Musk but not to be outdone, Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin announced that the company's first paying customer will become the youngest person to fly to space at the age of 18. Oliver Daemen replaces the auction winner who unfortunately cannot fly aboard Blue Origin's first commercial spaceflight. Here's more about him.
Blue Origin previously announced that founder Bezos and his brother Mark will be accompanied by 82-year-old aerospace pioneer Wally Funk who would become the oldest person ever to fly to space. The flight's fourth passenger was a yet-unnamed auction winner who paid $28 million for their seat. But as fate would have it, they can't make it on this flight due to "scheduling conflicts."
It's only fitting that Blue Origin's first human spaceflight cements its place in the history books by flying the oldest and the youngest astronauts together. Its flight is still scheduled to blast off on July 20, with 18-year-old Daemen being the new fourth passenger. The mysterious auction winner will, however, board a manned Blue Origin flight at a later date, the company disclosed.
Blue Origin didn't reveal how much money Daemen parted with for this trip, but it's reasonable to speculate that the amount was enough to keep other billionaires at bay. Where's the money coming from? His father Joes Daemen is the CEO of a hedge fund called Somerset Capital Partners. The flight aboard a New Shepard rocket will fulfill a lifelong dream for Daemen.
In a blog post announcing Daemen's participation in the mission, Blue Origin mentioned that the youngster has been fascinated by space, the Moon, and rockets since he was four years old. Daemen graduated high school last year and took a year gap before pursuing a private pilot's license. He will reportedly attend the University of Utrecht in September to study physics and innovation management.
Beyond the ages of the crew, Blue Origin's flight is historic because while Virgin Galactic might have put the first billionaire in space, none of the Unity 22 crew were paying passengers. Daemen will kick off the era of commercial spaceflight by becoming the first astronaut who actually paid for their spot on the mission, thus escalating the space race that isn't slowing down.