Who is Oliver Daemen, the Teen Going to Space With Jeff Bezos?
18-year-old Oliver Daemen will take the trip to space with Bezos, and 82-year-old pilot Wally Funk.
(This story was first published on 16 July 2021. It has been republished from The Quint’s archives as Jeff Bezos is set to ride his own rocket to outer space on 20 July)
Jeff Bezos’ space rocket company Blue Origin on Wednesday, 15 June, announced its first paying customer, Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old who will join the Amazon founder, his brother Mark Bezos, and pilot Wally Funk when they launch into the edge of space on the New Shepard rocket on 20 July.
Daemen is all set to make history as the youngest person to fly to in space. "I am super excited to go into space. I've been dreaming about this all my life," he said in a video posted on social media.
The 18-year-old will be accompanied by Funk, the 82-year-old female pilot. Interestingly, she was supposed to go to space 60 years ago, after she also passed the necessary tests required but she was not chosen to fly to space in 1960 due to her gender.
Who is Oliver Daemen?
Daemen is from Tilburg, North Braband, in the Netherlands. He finished his high school from Odulphuslyceum, a catholic secondary school, and in 2020, he joined a flight training centre Group One Air Aviation in Spain to acquire a private pilot licence.
Currently, he is a soon-to-be physics student at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
He is the son of Joes Daemen, a millionaire and founder of Somerset Capital Partners BV, an investment firm. According to Blue Origin, Daemen was fascinated by space and rockets since he was four years old.
A spokesperson for the family told The Atlantic that Daemen's ticket to space was a gift from his father due to the teen's interest in space and aviation.
It is worthy noting that the bidding for Blue Origin space tickets opened at USD 4.8 million and went beyond USD 20 million in just a few minutes.
The winning bidder, whose name wasn't revealed, had paid USD 28 million that earned him a spot on the space flight.
However, the winner had to reschedule his journey due to personal issues.
Instead, Daemen, will now make the journey with Bezos sitting next to him after his father won the second-place bid.
Meanwhile, Blue Origin said the teen was “a participant in the auction", but did not disclose how much the seat cost.
Richard Branson on Trip to Space
Meanwhile, Billionaire Richard Branson, on 11 July, returned to Spaceport America in New Mexico after successfully venturing into space on his Virgin Galactic vessel.
“The whole thing... it was just magical,” the 71-year-old business magnate said during a live feed from the spacecraft as it made its way back to the Earth, news agency AP reported.
The galactic vessel, which reached a height of 86 km over the New Mexico desert, enabled the passengers to view the curvature of the Earth and experience a few minutes of weightlessness.
Branson has become the first person to travel to the edge of space in his own spaceship, beating Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world.
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