Blue Origin New Shepard to carry youngest person ever to fly into space
Blue Origin announced today that the fourth and final passenger on the first human flight of New Shepard is 18-year-old Oliver Daemen. Replacing the anonymous auction bidder who won the seat, Daemen will be the youngest person ever to fly into space.
Today's announcement means that the first New Shepard flight will be breaking more than one record on July 20, 2021 as it lifts off on its suborbital trajectory to the edge of space. Along with Daemen will be 82-year-old Mary Wallace "Wally" Funk, who was one of the Mercury 13 female participants who passed the NASA astronaut selection tests for the 1960s Woman in Space program, and will be the oldest person to fly in space.
Also on the flight will be Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark. The fourth seat was originally purchased at auction by an anonymous bidder for US$28 million. This was donated to the Club of the Future, which promotes STEM careers for young people. This gift allowed the Club to donate US$19 million to 19 non-profit organizations.
According to Blue Origin, the anonymous bidder had to cancel their flight due to scheduling conflicts. The seat was then offered to Somerset Capital Partners CEO Joes Daemen, who was scheduled to fly on the second flight. He, in turn, surrendered his seat in favor of his teenage son Oliver.
Fascinated by space travel since the age of four, Oliver graduated from high school in 2020, and is now taking a year off before working to obtain his private pilot's license and beginning his studies of physics and innovation management at the University of Utrecht in September 2020.
"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," says Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin. "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."
Source: Blue Origin