18-year-old to go to space with Jeff Bezos after $28M auction winner backs out

18-year-old to go to space with Jeff Bezos after $28M auction winner backs out
Bezos’ rocket business Blue Origin revealed Thursday that the mystery bidder who put up a stunning $28 million for an 11-minute joy ride to the edge of space alongside Jeff Bezos will not be making the trip.

According to a press release from Blue Origin, the person, who requested anonymity for the time being, had to withdraw due to “schedule problems.” Instead, the winner will be sent to a future mission. Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate, will fly alongside Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pilot and one of the “Mercury 13” women, in their place.

“Daemen was a bidder in the auction and had gotten a seat on the second flight,” .

When this seat on the first flight became available, we moved him up,” a Blue Origin has said . “We aren’t going to say how much he paid.” According to a source acquainted with the situation, Daemen’s spot was purchased for him by his father, Joes Daemen, the founder and CEO of Somerset Capital Partners, a Dutch investment firm.

Oliver Daemen will be the world’s youngest astronaut.

Daemen, who hopes to attend the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands this September, will become the world’s youngest astronaut, while Funk will become the world’s oldest.

This will be the first crewed flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital space tourism rocket, which the corporation exploited as a selling point in the run-up to a livestreamed bidding war last month.

The $28 million price was much greater than most people expected the auction to bring in. The money was given to Blue Origin’s nonprofit organization, Club for the Future, which promotes science and technology education among youth. The Brooke Owens Fellowship, a women-in-tech scholarship initiative, and the prestigious but financially troubled Space Camp in Alabama received $19 million from Club for the Future.

Blue Origin has spent the previous decade putting the suborbital New Shepard rocket through a series of successful test flights, all of which were totally automated and carried no humans. Last month, the business announced that it was ready to start arranging passenger flights, and that Bezos, the Amazon billionaire who created Blue Origin in 2000, will be on the inaugural journey.

There are a few restrictions on who can fly with New Shepard, according to the company’s website: Everyone must be 18 years old or older, in good physical condition, and tall enough to climb seven flights of stairs in under a minute and a half. They must also be between the heights of 5’0” and 6’4” and weigh between 110 and 223 pounds. Passengers must also be able to fasten and unfasten their seat harness in less than 15 seconds, stay strapped in the capsule for up to an hour and a half with the hatch closed, and bear up to 5.5G of force during descent.

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