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Blue Origin flight will carry youngest person to fly in space

By
Kyle Barnett
Oliver Daemen will be Blue Origin's first paying passenger and will ride to space with three other people on July 20. Photo courtesy Blue Origin
Oliver Daemen will be Blue Origin's first paying passenger and will ride to space with three other people on July 20. Photo courtesy Blue Origin

July 15 (UPI) -- Jeff Bezos will have more company when his Blue Origin sends passengers into space for the first time next week -- 18-year-old Oliver Daemen.

The space company announced Thursday that Daemen will be on the flight of the New Shepard on Tuesday, joining Amazon founder Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos and 82-year-old Wally Funk.

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Funk will be the oldest person in history to fly into space, and Daemen will be the youngest. Funk previously trained as an astronaut during the 1960s, but was not selected to go to space.

Daemen will take the place of the anonymous winner of a $28 million auction for the first seat, who opted to take a later flight due to a scheduling conflict.

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"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," Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said in a statement.

"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."

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Daemen, who will attend Utrectcht University in the Netherlands this fall, has a private pilot's license and is the son of hedge fund manager Joes Daemen.

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Bezos announced in June that he will be on the inaugural flight.

Last Sunday, Virgin Galactic co-founder Richard Branson and five other passengers successfully launched into the edges of space, about 50 miles above Earth.

Blue Origin's rocket is expected to travel to the Kármán line of 62 miles high, an international standard to define space.

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