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Teenager To Become The Youngest Person In Space On Jeff Bezos Flight Next Week

by : Cameron Frew on : 16 Jul 2021 11:21
Teenager To Become The Youngest Person In Space On Jeff Bezos Flight Next WeekBlue Origin/PA Images

A Dutch teenager will become the youngest person in space when he joins Jeff Bezos on the first manned Blue Origin flight. 

The Amazon founder is playing catch up to Sir Richard Branson, who recently cruised to the edge of space in a successful test flight of Virgin Galactic.

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On July 20, Bezos is set to take off on the New Shepard rocket alongside his brother Mark, 82-year-old Wally Funk – who will become the oldest person in space – and the lucky teen.

Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old physics student on a gap year, due to attend the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands in September, will fly in place of an anonymous $28 million winning bidder of a public auction who could no longer participate ‘due to scheduling conflicts’. The undisclosed bidder will board a future flight, the company says.

Oliver is also the son of Joes Daemen, founder and CEO of Somerset Capital Partners, who’d originally secured a seat on Blue Origin’s second spaceflight but decided to let his son go instead. He previously bid during the June 12 auction, ‘but when the bids started to skyrocket during the auction, we dropped out,’ he said.

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‘This is so unbelievably cool. The flight to and into space only takes 10 minutes, but I already know that these will be the most special 10 minutes of my life… I am super excited to experience zero-g and see the world from above,’ the teen told Dutch broadcaster RTL.

‘Flying on New Shepard will fulfil a lifelong dream for Oliver, who has been fascinated by space, the Moon, and rockets since he was four,’ Blue Origin said.

The original auction winner’s ticket cost will be donated to charity, with 19 non-profit organisations receiving $1 million each. ‘We thank the auction winner for their generous support of Club for the Future and are honoured to welcome Oliver to fly with us on New Shepard,’ Bob Smith, CEO of the space company, said.

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‘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,’ he added.

Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers gave Daemen some advice ahead of going to space, ABC News reports, telling him ‘not to make the classic mistake of taking pictures in the short time he is up, but to fully enjoy the view of our beautiful planet’.

Blue Origin is yet to open up ticket sales to the public, unlike Virgin Galactic, but it’s expected to do so after Bezos’s maiden voyage.

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: News, Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, no-article-matching, Now, Space, US

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RTL and 1 other
  1. RTL

    Blue Origin says will fly 18-year-old to space on July 20

  2. ABC News

    Teenager Oliver Daemen set to join Jeff Bezos on Blue Origin's maiden space voyage