Last month, an anonymous bidder won a seat onboard the first crewed spaceflight of New Shepherd, the ship that will take Jeff Bezos and his brother 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the Earth. The bidder has now canceled their flight, citing scheduling conflicts, having something more important to do that day than go to freaking space.
In a press release, Blue Origin revealed that the anonymous person will be replaced by 18-year-old Oliver Daemen. He will become the youngest person to go to space, while Wally Funk – also due to be aboard – will become the oldest, at 82-years-old.
Not much has been released about the new passenger, but it's a safe bet that the Dutch teenager is the son of Somerset Capital CEO Joes Daemen, according to space editor at Ars Technica, Eric Berger.
"Flying on New Shepard will fulfill a lifelong dream for Oliver, who has been fascinated by space, the Moon, and rockets since he was four," Blue Origin wrote in the release. "Oliver graduated from high school in 2020 and took a gap year before continuing his studies to obtain his private pilot’s license. This September, Oliver will attend the University of Utrecht to study physics and innovation management."
The previous winner will instead be taking a later flight with Blue Origin, which doesn't clash with their Earthly commitments.
“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,” Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin, 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.”
The 10-minute flight, to take place on July 20, will see the crew accelerate to over 3 Gs, before the capsule detaches. At this point, they can unbuckle and feel the effects of weightlessness, before rebuckling for reentry into the Earth's atmosphere three minutes later. Passengers will land in the West Texas desert with assistance from a parachute deployed by the capsule, where they will be met by a landing crew.
Onboard will be Jeff Bezos, his brother, Oliver Daemen, and Wally Funk. While they are up there, Elon Musk will briefly become the richest person on Earth, but only because his rival beat him to space.