Blue Origin’s first paying customer marks youngest to visit space, but he’s not the winning bidder

$28 million auction winner had ‘scheduling conflicts’

An 18-year-old will become Blue Origin’s first paying customer to fly to space, making him the youngest to visit space, the company announced Thursday.

An 18-year-old will become Blue Origin’s first paying customer to fly to space, making him the youngest to visit space, the company announced Thursday.

Blue Origin said 18-year-old Oliver Daemen will be joining Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Bezos’ brother and aviation pioneer Wally Funk, 82, on board New Shepard for the upcoming launch on Tuesday.

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An 18-year-old will become Blue Origin’s first paying customer to fly to space, making him the youngest to visit space, the company announced Thursday.

Originally, the $28 million winner of the company’s auction was supposed to be joining Bezos and Funk on the up-and-down flight, but Blue Origin said the person, who is remaining anonymous, chose to fly on a future New Shepard flight “due to scheduling conflicts.”

“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,” CEO Bob Smith said in a news release.

A spokesperson with Blue Origin said they will not be disclosing how much Daeman paid for his seat on New Shepard.

After the announcement Thursday, Oliver Daeman shared a video via Dutch news outlet RTL News describing his excitement for the upcoming experience.

“I’m super excited to go to space and joining them on the flight. I’ve been dreaming about this all my life,” Daeman said.

Multiple media outlets have reported the teen is the son of hedge fund manager Joes Daemen, who took part in the auction but was not the top bidder. He was offered a seat on the next launch but when the winning bidder could not make it, his flight was moved up. News 6 has reached out to Blue Origin to confirm those details.

Blue Origin said it would be offering seats to people who took part in the auction but has not disclosed how many seats it has sold or for how much.

Tuesday’s launch comes over one week after billionaire Richard Branson and five crew members from his company, Virgin Galactic, visited space, making Branson the first person to launch in his own spaceship. Virgin Galactic’s flight was bumped up to an earlier date after Bezos announced his spaceflight plans.

Blue Origin announced early this week it has donated $19 million of the winning bidder’s money to space-based charities with $1 million grants each.

New Shepard is scheduled to liftoff with its first crew on Tuesday after 9 a.m. ET ( 8 a.m. CT) from the West Texas launch site.


About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.