Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old Dutch student from Tilburg, has been named as the fourth and final passenger on the first commercial launch from Blue Origin.
Joining him will be Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and the owner of the space company, Besoz’s brother, and 82-year-old American Wally Funk. Daemen and Funk will be the youngest and oldest people to ever go to space, reports the NOS.
Daemen and his father participated in an auction where the fourth seat in the spacecraft, New Shephard, was offered. They didn’t, in fact, win it. The seat initially went to the highest bidder — who offered €23 million for the 10-minute tour. How much Daemen and his father offered is not known. However, Blue Original has stated that it’s much less than €23 million.
So how did this 18-year-old Dutchman get to go to space with Jeff Bezos?
Last week he received an unexpected phone call from Blue Origin. The auction winner had decided to go to space another time due to “scheduling conflicts”. The space company then specifically chose to invite Daemen to man the spacecraft instead! According to Blue Origin, they chose Oliver because of his age.
Lifelong dream come true
For Daemen, who’s “been fascinated by space, the Moon, and rockets since he was four”, flying on New Shephard will be a dream come true, writes Blue Origin.
Yesterday, Daemen left the Netherlands with his father. Before going into space next Tuesday, he’ll be completing a short, intensive astronaut training in Texas. “The flight to and into space only takes ten minutes, but I already know that these will be the most special ten minutes of my life,” he says.
Once his life back here on Earth resumes, Daemen will study physics and innovation management at Utrecht University, starting this autumn.
What will the launch look like?
New Shephard will launch from Texas next Tuesday. It’ll go to an altitude of 100 kilometres from which the curvature of the Earth is visible and where the passengers will be weightless for a few minutes. After admiring the beauty of our planet, the passengers will be guided back into our atmosphere to land safely on Earth. The round-trip takes a total of 10 minutes.
What do you think of the Daemen’s unexpected luck? Would you want to travel to space? Tell us in the comments below!
Feature Image: Blue Origin