Mystery over the winner of seat auction aboard Blue Origin's first crewed flight to space continues. Last month, the mystery man or woman won the coveted seat by paying a whopping $28 million. And finally, Blue Origin has announced that its first paying customer will be an 18-year old Dutch student who's going to attend the University of Utrecht to study physics and innovation management this September.
Jeff Bezos had announced last month, that he will be blast off to space aboard the New Shepard rocket when it takes off on July 20th, coinciding with the 52-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. He will be accompanied by his brother, Mark, and aerospace pioneer, Wally Funk.
The 13 minute trip in outer space was scheduled to be the first paid space trip, but Virgin Galactic pipped them to the post when founder Richard Branson traveled to space earlier this week. While billionaires were racing each other to space, people even started a petition that wanted Jeff Bezos to stay outside the Earth.
In its press release, Blue Origin confirmed that the mystery winner of the auction was unable to travel on the first mission due to a scheduling conflict and would be part of a future mission. Since a seat was now available on the six people capsule, Blue Origin's moved up the next in line, Joes Daemen, the founder CEO of Dutch private equity firm, Somerset Capital Partners. Daemen, who paid for the seat has chosen his 18-year-old son, Oliver to fly in his place.
“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,” said CEO of Blue Origin, Bob Smith.
With Oliver and 82-year-old, Wally Funk who are both set to become astronauts in a few days, Blue Origin's first spaceflight will become the first space mission to carry the youngest and oldest astronauts into space at once.
On the other hand, Branson's Virgin Galactic offers a shorter trip of about three minutes for a relatively smaller price tag, with seats available for $250,000.