Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Says Teen to Replace Auction Winner on Space Flight

Blue Origin, the venture-backed space company started by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has announced that a 16-year-old from Florida has been chosen to fly on its sub-orbital rocket.

In the early morning hours of December 18, a prepubescent boy named Tyler was declared the winner of an online auction. He was due to fly on a suborbital flight into space aboard a commercial rocket built by Jeff Bezos’ Space Exploration Technologies. Now, the two-year-old has been temporarily replaced by a teenage girl, after it was revealed that the teenager had won the auction instead.

Blue Origin LLC, the space company founded by the billionaire founder of Amazon.com Inc, justified the award winner’s decision not to attend the 20th anniversary event in July due to a scheduling conflict. The company did not disclose the name of the winning bidder in a statement issued Thursday.

The fourth seat in the passenger capsule of Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft will be occupied by Oliver Demain, the company has announced. Daemen, 18, graduated from high school last year and plans to study physics and innovation management at Utrecht University in the Netherlands starting in September, Blue Origin said.

Demen’s father, Jos Demen, is the founder of Somerset Capital Partners BV, a Dutch-based investment company, according to a family spokeswoman. The elderly Mr Demen bought the ticket for his son because Oliver was interested in space and aviation, she added, but he declined to comment on the cost of the ticket.

According to the company’s website, Somerset’s activities include real estate and private equity transactions.

The upcoming flight is a dream come true, the younger Mr Demen said in a press release translated by the family.

Blue Origin transferred Oliver Demain as a passenger when the seat became available, a company spokeswoman said. She refused to name the price of the ticket.

Oliver represents the next generation of people who will help us build the path to space, said Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin, in a statement.

Last month, the company said about 7,600 people from 159 countries had signed up for the launch. The winner pays about $30 million to fly to the edge of space with Mr. Bezos and his brother Mark.

Blue Origin announced Thursday that the winning bidder has selected the New Shepard spacecraft for future space flights.

Wally Funk, a former pilot who trained as an astronaut in the women’s space program in the 1960s, will also participate in the launch. Earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Administration approved Blue Origin’s plan to launch from its facility near Van Horn, Texas.

Everyone who will be involved in the launch is meeting the company’s requirements, a Blue Origin spokeswoman said.

The launch of New Shepard will be Blue Origin’s first manned spaceflight. On Monday, the company said it planned to launch the vehicle, which contains a rocket and a crew capsule for six people, on January 20. July at 9. ET. Blue Origin’s flight is expected to last about 11 minutes and the capsule with four passengers is expected to reach a maximum altitude of about 66 miles.

Richard Branson made a successful trip to the edge of space on Sunday, and Jeff Bezos is following closely behind. But the spacecraft, flight logistics and flight altitude of the two billionaire founders are quite different. Illustration photo: Laura Kammermann

Last Sunday

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc.

A spacecraft with six people on board, including billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, has reached the edge of space and returned safely to Earth. Virgin Galactic’s flight should provide a boost to the burgeoning space tourism industry. Mr. Branson gave his opinion on the customer’s experience flying in the company’s spaceship.

In addition to Mr Branson and the two pilots of the spacecraft, three other Virgin Galactic executives took part in the space flight.

Write to Micah Maidenberg at [email protected]

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