Dutch teen set to become world’s youngest spaceflier

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture says the beneficiary of the $28 million auction for a spot on its New Shepard suborbital spaceship is Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old student from the Netherlands.

Daemen is due to take a trip to the edge of space next Tuesday, sitting alongside Bezos and his brother Mark — as well as female aviation pioneer Wally Funk, who at the age of 82 would become the oldest person to go to space. Daemen would become the youngest.

The actual winner of last month’s auction is still anonymous. Blue Origin said the winner had to forgo the milestone flight due to scheduling conflicts, and will instead go on a future flight. (Although there may be more to it than that: Couldn’t someone reschedule things to make history in the company of the world’s richest person?)

A spokesperson for Blue Origin told GeekWire that Daemen was a participant in last month’s auction. After the sale, Blue Origin followed up and arranged for him to go on the second New Shepard flight. His reservation was moved up when the seat on the first flight became available, the spokesperson said.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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