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Deadline conflict: Blue Origin names 18-year-old astronaut substitute

In a few days, Jeff Bezos will be on board Blue Origins’ first manned flight into space, but the auction winner had to cancel. In addition to Bezos, his brother and the pioneer Wally Funk, the only 18-year-old Dutchman Oliver Daemen will fly with them instead. The auction winner, who remains anonymous, will board a later flight due to scheduling problems.

The private space company of the Amazon founder will be the same after a company announcement break two age records. With the 82-year-old US pilot Wally Funk and the young Dutchman, both the oldest and the youngest person will be in space when the capsule of the “New Shepard” rocket crosses the internationally recognized border to space at a height of 100 kilometers (Kármán- Line).

Blue Origin auctioned the ticket into space for 28 million US dollars, but the winner cannot take fourth place in the capsule due to scheduling reasons, although the start date was previously set on July 20, 2021. His (or her) place will be taken by Oliver Daemen, a young Dutchman who graduated from school in 2020. He will start his studies in Utrecht in September, but has taken a year off to acquire a pilot’s license.

A speaking from Blue Origins explained Daemen’s selection to the US broadcaster CNBC. Accordingly, his father, the boss of a Dutch capital and investment company, bid at the auction. He didn’t win, but he did secured a seat on the second flight. When the space became available on the first flight, Daemen moved forward, becoming the first paying customer on a space flight.

The entire amount of the highest bid will be donated to the “Club for Future” sponsored by Blue Origin. This organization wants to inspire young generations for STEM careers (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, technology). The next generation of researchers should design future life in space.


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