18-Year-Old Physics Student Takes Place Of $28M Auction Winner To Fly With Jeff Bezos To Space
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An 18-year-old physics student will take the place of the $28 million auction winner who is now too busy to fly to space with Jeff Bezos.
The seat aboard the New Shepard, which will be launched into space on 20 July, was auctioned off - but due to a clash of schedules, one of the runners-up in the auction for the space flight, Oliver Daemen will become the youngest person to ever fly into space.
The private space company said the original unnamed traveller, 'who will remain anonymous at this time', couldn't make the flight due to 'scheduling conflicts'.
Instead, student Oliver Daemen will be going with the Amazon founder.
He bagged his seat on board the flight as his dad was one of the runners-up in the auction to join the flight. How much he paid for the ticket has not been disclosed.
His father, Dutch financier Joes Daemen, founded private equity firm Somerset Capital Partners. Joes paid for the ticket, but decided to let Oliver go instead.
A Twitter handle in Oliver's name, which appears to have been created on 21 June for the occasion, only followed 11 accounts at the time of writing - none of which are Bezos.
He does however follow Elon Musk, as well as the SpaceX account, and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.
Speaking in a video message, Oliver said: "I am super excited to go to space.
"I've been dreaming about this all my life and I will become the youngest astronaut ever because I'm 18 years old. I am super excited to experience zero G."
Bezos' Blue Origin firm will make the historic flight on 20 July, and it will also include Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, 82. The American aviation pioneer will become the oldest person to fly into space.
The other passengers on the New Shepard mission will be Bezos himself and his brother Mark.
Blue Origin didn't disclose how it chose Mr Daemen to replace the anonymous winner of the auction.
In a statement, it said: "At 18-years-old and 82-years-young, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk represent the youngest and oldest astronauts to travel to space."
Oliver is currently on a gap year before starting his studies at the University of Utrecht in September.
Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin said: "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.
"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."