Today, Blue Origin announced Oliver Daemen will be the first paying customer to fly on board New Shepard, marking the beginning of commercial operations for the program. He will join Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk aboard the first human flight on July 20. At 18-years-old and 82-years-young, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk represent the youngest and oldest astronauts to travel to space.
The winner of Blue Origin’s auction, who has asked to remain anonymous at this time, has chosen to fly on a future New Shepard mission due to scheduling conflicts. Club for the Future announced this week the auction gift has enabled Club to donate $1 million to 19 non-profit organizations ($19 million in total), all of which are working 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.”
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. 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.