18-year-old to join Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Blue Origin's 1st human spaceflight
- Blue Origin had auctioned a spaceship berth for a whopping $28 million but the winner, presumably an ultra-wealthy space aficionado, has chosen to fly on a future New Shepard flight “due to scheduling conflicts.”
An 18-year-old will be the first paying customer of Blue Origin to fly to space on its reusable rocket on July 20, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s space company announced on Thursday. Blue Origin had auctioned a spaceship berth for a whopping $28 million but the winner, presumably an ultra-wealthy space aficionado, has chosen to fly on a future New Shepard flight “due to scheduling conflicts.”
With a vacant berth on New Shepard’s first human flight, Blue Origin has picked OlivDaemen, who is about to become the youngest person in space, to fly along with Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk, an aviation pioneer who will become the oldest person ever to do so at age 82. Daeman’s presence on the flight will also mark the beginning of commercial operations for the program. The company didn’t disclose the amount paid by the teenager for the spaceflight.
“We thank the auction winner for their generous support of Club for the Future and are honored to welcome Oliver to fly with us on New Shepard,” said Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin. “This marks the beginning of commercial operations for New Shepard, and Oliver represents a new generation of people who will help us build a road to space.”
According to Blue Origin, Daeman graduated from high school in 2020 and took a year off to obtain his private pilot’s license. He will attend the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands to study physics and innovation management, the company said.
Currently, Soviet cosmonaut Ghermon Titov, the second human to orbit the Earth after Yuri Gagarin, holds the record for the youngest to fly in space. Titov was 25 when he blasted off Vostok 2 to orbit the Earth way back in 1961.
New Shepard’s first human spaceflight will take off on July 20 from its Launch Site One in a remote location in the West Texas desert. While there are no on-site public viewing areas in the vicinity of the launch site, it will be broadcast live on BlueOrigin.com beginning at 11:30am UTC (5:00 pm IST).