Blue Origin picks teen to fly to space after anonymous auction winner reschedules

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The fourth passenger to ride with Jeff Bezos on his space company’s suborbital rocket next Tuesday is a dutch teen named Oliver Daemen, Blue Origin revealed Thursday. Daemen’s seat had been reserved for the winner of a $28 million auction that closed last month, but that winner remains anonymous and “has chosen to fly on a future New Shepard mission due to scheduling conflicts,” a news release said.

Blue Origin’s launch, scheduled for July 20th, marks the company’s first crewed mission to the edge of space. Four people will launch aboard the company’s suborbital New Shepard rocket from a remote desert site in Van Horn, Texas for a few minutes in microgravity. Blue Origin founder Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation icon and astronaut candidate Wally Funk, and Daemen will be New Shepard’s full crew. Daemen, 18, would be the youngest person to go to space, while Funk, 82, would be the oldest.

Blue Origin said Daemen marks the company’s first paying customer, but it’s unclear how much the ticket cost. “We’re not disclosing the price paid,” a Blue Origin spokeswoman said in response to questions from The Verge. “He 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.”

Daemen is the son of Joes Daemen, a dutch private equity executive who paid for the seat. Blue Origin hasn’t announced its price for New Shepard seats, and it’s unclear whether Joes Daemen paid at the price he bid during the auction or a price Blue Origin is quietly selling to New Shepard customers.

The company received Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly passengers on Monday.


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