Bezos' Blue Origin space flight crew to include 18-year-old student

Anonymous individual who paid $28 million to win a public auction for the seat can't participate due to 'scheduling conflicts'

Blue Origin revealed Thursday that Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old student, will join Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on the firm’s inaugural space flight later this month.

Daemen will be Blue Origin’s "first paying customer" and one of four passengers to board the New Shepard shuttle, the firm said in a press release. The teenager will replace the anonymous individual who paid $28 million to win a public auction for the seat, but will be unable to participate due to "scheduling conflicts."

"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," Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said. "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."

Daemen and Bezos will be joined by the billionaire’s brother, Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk, an 82-year-old aviation legend who trained to be an astronaut in the 1960s and served as the National Transportation Safety Board’s first female air safety investigator. Daemen and Funk will be the youngest and oldest people to fly to space.


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Daemen is the son of Joes Daemen, the founder and CEO of the Dutch investment firm Somerset Capital Partners. The elder Daemen had paid for a seat on Blue Origin’s second mission.

A 2020 high school graduate, Daemen is set to attend the University of Utrecht this fall study physics and innovation management. He is also working to obtain his private pilot’s license.


The anonymous auction winner will participate in a future Blue Origin mission, the firm added.

While the New Shepard shuttle has completed several test missions, the upcoming flight is the first with human passengers. The mission is slated for July 20.