Dutch teen Oliver Daemen has been confirmed as the final passenger joining Jeff Bezos on Blue Origin’s maiden crewed spaceflight.
How exactly did a high school graduate secure this historic ticket to beyond the stratosphere? As it so happens, the anonymous party who initially won the seat with a US$28 million (AU$37.75 million) bid is such a goddamn operator, he faced a “scheduling conflict” deemed more important than bro-ing down with Bezos, shooting off to space, and making history.
It also helps that our soon-to-be spacefaring wunderkind is the son of Joes Daemen, Founder & CEO of Netherlands-based private equity firm Somerset Capital Partners (yes, there’s the lightbulb moment).
The younger Daemen has been described by Blue Origin as a lifelong space enthusiast who took a gap year after finishing up high school in 2020 to obtain his private pilot’s license.
“I’ve been dreaming about this all my life,” he explains.
“I am super excited to experience zero-G and see the world from above.”
Once he touches back down to Earth, starting from this September, Daemen will attend the University of Utrecht where he’s currently enrolled to study Physics & Innovation Management. And who knows, given he’s already rubbing shoulders with the Bezos, employment at Blue Origin post-tertiary education may very well be on the cards.
The anonymous party with a scheduling conflict has reportedly penciled in a future mission. Oliver Daemen, on the other hand, will make history as the youngest person to travel into space come July 20th – joining Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder’s brother Mark Bezos, and 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk (who will herself become the oldest person to ever travel into space).
“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.”