18-year-old physics student takes place of $28M auction winner to fly with Jeff ...

18-year-old physics student takes place of $28M auction winner to fly with Jeff ...
18-year-old physics student takes place of $28M auction winner to fly with Jeff ...

Blue Origin announced on Thursday that 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, a physics student, will take the place of the anonymous winning bidder who spent $28 million to fly to space on the New Shepard rocket next week.

Daemen will be the 'first paying customer' Blue Origin said in an email, flying to the edge of space, alongside Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk and two other passengers.

A Blue Origin spokesperson told DailyMail.com they are not disclosing the price that Daemen paid for the seat, but confirmed he participated in the auction.

'He was a participant in the auction and had secured a seat on the second flight,' the spokesperson said via email. 'We moved him up when this seat on the first flight became available.'

'At 18-years-old and 82-years-young, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk represent the youngest and oldest astronauts to travel to space,' Blue Origin said in a statement. 

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The Bezos-founded Blue Origin said the winner of last month's public auction is unable to go into space 'due to scheduling conflicts' and wishes 'to remain anonymous at this time.'

DailyMail.com has reached out to Blue Origin to understand the nature of the 'scheduling conflict.' 

'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,' said Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin in a statement. 

'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.' 

Blue Origin said on Thursday that 18-year-old physics student Oliver Daemen will take the place of the anonymous bidder to fly to space

Blue Origin said on Thursday that 18-year-old physics student Oliver Daemen will take the place of the anonymous bidder to fly to space

The auction gift has allowed Club for the Future to donate $1 million each to 19 non-profit organizations, which are all supporting living and working in space. 

The winner of the auction beat 20 other participants in a bidding spree that auction in late May and wrapped up with a 10-minute online bidding frenzy in late June, livecast by Blue Origin.  

The July 20 launch - which coincides with the anniversary of the moon landing - will be the first test of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket with people on board, kicking off the company's space tourism business.  

Blue Origin named the New Shepard program after astronaut Alan Shepard, who was the first American to fly into space exactly 60 years ago.

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Fifteen previous test flights of the reusable rocket, which brings the capsule to an altitude of more than 340,000 fleet, and capsule since 2015 - short hops lasting about 10 minutes - were all successful.

Bezos, the world's wealthiest man and a lifelong space enthusiast, is racing against fellow billionaires Richard Branson and Elon Musk in what the media has described as 'the billionaire space race.' 

Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, Daemen and two other passengers are now set to liftoff from West Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space

Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, Daemen and two other passengers are now set to liftoff from West Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space

Jeff Bezos¿ Blue Origin received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space on July 20

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space on July 20

On Monday, Blue Origin received approval Monday from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space on July 20.

New Shepard, which stands 60 feet tall, was specifically designed for Blue Origin's space tourism venture and has successfully completed 15 test launches, with the latest on April 14.

The capsule that rides atop New Shepard seats six passengers and is equipped with reclining seats

The capsule that rides atop New Shepard seats six passengers and is equipped with reclining seats

The capsule that rides atop New Shepard seats six passengers and is equipped with reclining seats.

Each of the seats has a window that are said to the 'the largest to fly into space.'

Cameras line the interior, allowing travelers to share their memories that are truly out of this world.

The crew is set to travel 62 miles above Earth’s surface, where they will experience weightlessness due to the zero gravity and see the curve of the planet with the darkness of space as the backdrop.

Blue Origin's maiden voyage will, however, travel farther than Branson's who reached an altitude of 53.5 miles over the New Mexico desert before gliding safely back to Earth.

It is not clear how long they will spend just beyond the edge of space, but Blue Origin has stated in the past that paying customers will spend as much as 10 minutes in zero gravity before returning to Earth.  

The billionaire space race is fueled by optimism that space travel will become mainstream as nascent technology is proven and costs fall, fueling what UBS estimates could be a $3 billion annual tourism market by 2030.

Blue Origin and Virgin

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