<p>Bezos gave the term “tone deaf” a whole new meaning.</p>

The mystery bidder is set to be replaced by 18-year-old Oliver Daemen.

AFP via Getty Images

The anonymous winner of Jeff Bezos’ auction, who paid a whopping $29.7 million to join the billionaire aboard New Shepard’s flight to space, is no longer able to make the trip due to “scheduling conflicts,” Blue Origin has announced.

Instead, the mystery bidder is set to be replaced by 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, who will soon be the youngest person to travel to space. Daemen, who is from the Netherlands, is also the first paying passenger to embark on a Blue Origin space journey, thus marking the start of Blue Origin’s commercial operations.

“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 statement. “Oliver represents a new generation of people who will help us build a road to space.”

Daemen, who graduated high school in 2020 and used his gap year to pursue a pilot’s license, plans to study physics and innovation management at Utrecht University in Utrecht, Netherlands starting this fall.

In a video shared to Twitter, the young astronaut is clearly over the moon (no pun intended) regarding his upcoming adventure. “Hi, I’m Oliver Daemen, and I will be joining Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos and Wally Funk on the first flight on New Shepard,” he began.

“I am super excited to go into space and join them on this flight. I’ve been dreaming about this all my life, and now I’ll become the youngest astronaut ever, because I’m 18-years-old,” he continued. “I am super excited to…see the world from above.”

“Thank you so much [to] the people of Blue Origin for making this happen, and making New Shepard. Thank you.”

Per Blue Origin, the intergalactic excursion will “fulfill a lifelong dream” for the teenager, as he has been “fascinated by space, the Moon and rockets since he was four.”

Bezos’ Blue Origin flight will represent multiple generations of astronauts, as both the youngest and oldest travellers to go to space will be onboard: Wally Funk, at 82-years-old, will be the oldest space cadet as of yet.

Bon voyage!

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)