Jeff Bezos flying to space: 18-year-old passenger joins crew after winning bidder for seat bows out

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USA TODAY 15 July, 2021 - 12:13pm 18 views

When is Blue Origin flight?

The flight is scheduled for Tuesday, June 20, and Blue Origin's coverage will begin at 4:30 a.m. PT (7:30 a.m. ET). CNETBezos blasts off on Blue Origin's first crewed flight: How to watch live

Blue Origin's first paying customer is the youngest person to fly to space

Yahoo Tech 15 July, 2021 - 10:11am

The flight is still scheduled for July 20th. The auction winner still wants to remain anonymous, but will take a later Blue Origin trip due to "scheduling conflicts."

It's not clear how much Daemen paid for the trip, but it's likely no small amount. Oliver's father is Joes Daemen, the CEO of hedge fund Somerset Capital Partners. While he probably didn't have to pay the $28 million from the auction, the final price was likely enough to keep other wealthy customers at bay.

This launch won't have as much impact as intended given Virgin Galactic's fully crewed spaceflight. Nonetheless, it's still historic beyond the ages of some of its passengers. This trip will include an honest-to-goodness paying customer. It might also be the first flight of its kind to technically enter space. While Virgin's altitude was short of the Kármán line (62 miles) that officially delineates space, Blue Origin is keen to point out that it should cross that symbolic barrier. Think of the July 20th flight as escalating a private space race that's unlikely to end any time soon.

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Billionaire Jeff Bezos's rocket company, Blue Origin, selected an 18-year-old to go on its first mission to space.

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An 18-year-old is about to become the youngest person in space, rocketing away with an aviation pioneer who will become the oldest at age 82. Blue Origin announced Thursday that instead of an auction winner launching with founder Jeff Bezos on Tuesday, Oliver Daemen will be on board. Also soaring on Blue Origin’s first launch with passengers: Bezos’ brother and Wally Funk, one of 13 female pilots who went through the same studies in the early 1960s as NASA's Mercury 7 astronauts did, but were rejected for being women.

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Blue Origin announces 18-year-old will be on its first crewed flight from West Texas

Houston Chronicle 15 July, 2021 - 10:10am

Blue Origin has completed the roster for next week’s first crewed flight, which will simultaneously set records for the youngest, oldest and richest person in space.

The company announced Thursday that 18-year-old Oliver Daemen will be the fourth passenger on its launch Tuesday from West Texas. Daemen is the son of Joes Daemen, CEO and founder of Somerset Capital Partners investment firm in the Netherlands.

Related: Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos' space race is heating up, and Texas gets a front-row seat

“I have been dreaming about this all my life,” Daemen said in a video posted on Twitter by Bright, which is part of RTL Netherlands media group. “I am super excited to experience zero-g and see the world from above.”

The flight’s other occupants are Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, who is the world’s richest man, his brother Mark and 82-year-old female aerospace pioneer Wally Funk.

Funk will become the oldest person to launch into space. Sixty years ago, Funk volunteered for a privately funded program that tested women for astronaut fitness. She was one of 13 women, called the Mercury 13, who successfully underwent the same physical and mental tests as the seven male astronauts that NASA selected for its first human spaceflight program. The Mercury 13 never went into space. One of the original Mercury seven men, John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, also holds the current record for oldest person in space. The astronaut-turned-senator flew on the space shuttle in 1998 when he was 77 years old.

Daemen’s seat was initially reserved for the winner of a live auction Blue Origin held on June 12. However, the person who bid $28 million is now slated to fly on a subsequent New Shepard mission “due to scheduling conflicts.” Blue Origin did not identify the auction winner.

Joes Daemen was a participant in the auction and had secured a seat for his son on the second flight. Oliver Daemen got moved to the first flight when the seat became available.

Oliver Daemen graduated from high school in 2020 and took a gap year before continuing his studies to obtain his private pilot’s license. In September, he will attend the University of Utrecht to study physics and innovation management, according to a Blue Origin news release.

These four individuals will take an 11-minute ride to space and back on New Shepard. The 63-foot-tall suborbital rocket system consists of a reusable rocket booster and crew capsule. It has flown 15 times without people.

The booster and capsule launch together. After the booster’s engine shuts off, the capsule will separate and coast above the Kármán line 62 miles above the Earth. The booster returns for a controlled, rocket-powered vertical landing. In the spacecraft, which descends more slowly, occupants will have several minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth. Parachutes slow it down and then, right before landing, a retro-thrust system creates an air cushion for the capsule.

The $28 million from Blue Origin’s live auction is being donated to Club for the Future, the company’s foundation focused on STEM education. It announced Wednesday that Club for the Future would offer $1 million grants to 19 space-based nonprofits. These include Space Center Houston, the visitor center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and SciArt Exchange, a Houston organization that offers contests and events to bring together art, technology and science.

“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 in the news release.

Andrea writes about NASA and the commercial space sector, where her coverage spans human spaceflight, robotic exploration and operations in low-Earth orbit. For six months of the year, she keeps an eye on the Atlantic hurricane season. Andrea graduated from the University of Florida in 2012 and has lived in Houston since 2014. She enjoys traveling, eating her way across Houston and walking her dog Lizzy.

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Person who paid $28m to join Jeff Bezos flight to space unable to go as they’re busy

Yahoo Finance UK 15 July, 2021 - 10:00am

Instead, the first ever paying customer of Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin rocket firm will be 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, it said. As well as being Mr Bezos’s first paying customer, he will also be the youngest person on space.

He will join Wally Funk, who is aged 82 and will become the oldest ever person in space. Mr Bezos and his brother Mark will make up the rest of the passengers on the New Shepard rocket.

Blue Origin announced more than a month ago that the auction for a seat on the trip had finished at $28 million. But it has refused to say who the winner was, even as the time of launch approached.

That person will “remain anonymous at this time”, Blue Origin said in its new announcement.

And they have “chosen to fly on a future New Shepard mission due to scheduling conflicts”, the company also said.

It did not say how it had chosen Mr Daeman instead. It also refused to reveal how much he had paid for his ticket.

But it said that the trip would “fulfill a lifelong dream for Oliver”, who is currently on a gap year obtaining his private license before starting studied at the University of Utrecht this September.

Blue Origin also announced that Club for the Future – its non-profit, which is tasked with distributing the money from the auction – has given $1 million each to 19 different organisations, which it said were working on projects “to support the future of living and working in space”.

“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. “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 four will take off on 20 July, taking a short flight up to space before coming back down to the ground. Blue Origin has argued that it will be the first commercial spaceflight of this kind, because Richard Branson’s trip last week does not truly count – and has also criticised Virgin Galactic for its “smaller windows”.

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Blue Origin reveals runner-up in $28 million auction will fly with Jeff Bezos to space next week

CNBC 15 July, 2021 - 09:24am

Jeff Bezos' space venture Blue Origin on Thursday revealed that 18-year-old Oliver Daemen will fly in place of the still-anonymous $28 million winning bidder of last month's public auction.

Daemen will fly to the edge of space with the Amazon founder, his brother Mark Bezos, and legendary aerospace pioneer Wally Funk on Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket scheduled to launch on July 20.

The young physics student takes the place of the auction winner, who Blue Origin said could not fly on the mission "due to scheduling conflicts." Blue Origin said the auction winner "has chosen to fly on a future New Shepard mission."

Blue Origin described Daemen as the "first paying customer" flying on New Shepard, with a spokesperson telling CNBC that "he was a participant in the auction and had secured a seat on the second flight."

"We moved him up when this seat on the first flight became available," Blue Origin said.

The company confirmed that Daemen is the son of Somerset Capital Partners CEO Joes Daemen, who paid for the seat and chose to fly Oliver instead. Somerset is a Dutch private equity firm based in Oisterwijk, Netherlands, that Joes Daemen founded.

At 18, Daemen would be the youngest person to fly to space, with Funk, 82, also set to become the oldest person to become an astronaut.

New Shepard, a rocket that carries a capsule to an altitude of more than 340,000 feet, has flown more than a dozen successful test flights without passengers, including one in April at the company's facility in the Texas desert. It's designed to carry up to six people and flies autonomously — without needing a pilot. The capsule has massive windows to give passengers a view of the earth below during about three minutes in zero gravity, before returning to Earth.

Blue Origin's system launches vertically, and both the rocket and capsule are reusable. The boosters land on a concrete pad at the company's facility in Van Horn, Texas, while the capsules land using a set of parachutes.

Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 and owns the company, funding it through share sales of his Amazon stock.

July 20 is notable because it also marks the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

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