Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, has announced its first paying customer. Oliver Daemen is an 18-year-old Dutch teenager who is about to be the youngest person to ever travel to space.
Daemen will be joining Jeff and his brother Mark Bezos, as well as pilot Wally Funk on July 20th.
Funk will also be breaking the record for oldest individual to go to space at 82-years-old. Funk is famous for being a member of Mercury 13, a group of all female pilots who, in the 1960’s, underwent testing to determine whether women could handle space travel or not. Even though the group of women performed just as well as NASA’s Mercury 7, the male counterpart to Mercury 13, they were rejected for being women.
Funk is breaking the age record previously set by astronaut and senator John Glenn who traveled to space in 1998 at the age of 77. Daemen will be breaking the record previously set by Ghermon Titov, who was just 25 when he went into space for a four month mission.
The Federal Aviation Administration approved of the Blue Origin launch this Monday, just one say after billionaire Richard Branson flew to the edge of space aboard his rocket-powered vehicle developed by Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic, like Blue Origin, plans to start flying paying customers up to the edge of space. Daemen was able to secure his spot on Blue Origin after the individual who won an auction for a seat on the rocket had to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts. The original individual paid $28 million for the oppurtunity.
“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. 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,” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said.
“I am super excited to be going to space and joining Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk on the first Blue Origin crewed flight.”
A Blue origin spokesperson told the media that Daemen “was a participant in the auction and had secured a seat on the second flight. We moved him up when this seat on the first flight became available,” the spokesperson said.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.