UNITED STATES: 18-year-old Oliver Daemen from the Netherlands is to become the youngest person to fly to space when he joins Jeff Bezos on the first human flight by his space venture Blue Origin.
Blue Origin announced on Thursday that its first paying customer, the Dutch teenager will be traveling on the July 20 launch in West Texas.
Oliver Daemen will fly in place of an anonymous $28m (£20m) winning bidder of a public auction. Founder of Amazon, Bezos said that the winner of the auction could not fly on the mission “due to scheduling conflicts.”
The teenager is the son of Somerset Capital Partners CEO Joes Daemen. Blur Origin said that Joes had secured a seat on the second flight but was moved up to the first when the winner of the auction pulled out. After which, he chose to instead fly his son, who is a physics student.
Oliver has been fascinated by space since he was a child, according to Blue Origin.
The teenager said in a video on Twitter: “I am super excited to be going to space. I’ve been dreaming about this all my life.”
Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith welcomed Oliver: “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.”
The crew also includes 82-year-old Wally Funk, who will become the oldest ever person in space. Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark will make up the rest of the passengers on the New Shepard rocket.
Funk, a pilot and flight instructor, was part of Mercury 13, a group of female pilots who underwent testing to determine whether women could handle space travel.
The company plans to launch its passengers more than 100km (62 miles) above the Earth’s surface, allowing them to experience microgravity.
The capsule will then return to Earth using parachutes on a trip expected to last about 10 minutes, said BBC.
Jeff Bezos created Blue Origin in 2000 and announced last month that he and his brother would embark on his childhood dream of traveling to space.
Forbes’ estimate richest man in the world announced in February to step down as the CEO of e-commerce giant Amazon. Earlier this month Andy Jassy who ran Amazon’s cloud computing business replaced CEO Jeff Bezos.