WASHINGTON — Blue Origin said Thursday an 18-year-old paying customer will fly to space on board the company's maiden crewed spaceflight on July 20, becoming the youngest ever astronaut.
Oliver Daemen, who graduated from high school in 2020 and holds a private pilot's license, is not the winner of a $28 million auction, who has asked to remain anonymous and will fly on a future mission, the company said.
"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," said Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin.
Flying on New Shepard will fulfill a lifelong dream for Daemen, who has been fascinated by space, the Moon, and rockets since he was four, a statement said.
He plans to attend the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands to study physics and innovation management this September.
Daemen joins Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, Jeff's brother Mark, and Wally Funk aboard the first human flight involving the New Shepard spaceship.
At 18 and 82 respectively, Daemen and Funk will be the youngest and oldest astronauts to travel to space.
From the beginning, New Shepard was designed to fly above the Kármán line so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name. For 96% of the world’s population, space begins 100 km up at the internationally recognized Kármán line. pic.twitter.com/QRoufBIrUJ— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) July 9, 2021
— Agence France-Presse