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This article was published on July 15, 2021

Teen bags seat on Bezos space trip because original passenger is busy

Hard work pays off

Teen bags seat on Bezos space trip because original passenger is busy
Thomas Macaulay
Story by

Thomas Macaulay

Writer at Neural by TNW Writer at Neural by TNW

A gap-year student will join Jeff Bezos on his ego trip to the edge of space — because the original passenger is too busy.

The anonymous auction winner had spent an eye-watering $28 million for a ticket on the spaceship, but has dropped out “due to scheduling conflicts.”

The seat will now be taken by Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen, who will become the first paying customer to fly on the New Shepard rocket. Blue Origins hasn’t disclosed how much his ticket cost.

Tragically, Bezos was this week pipped to the title of “first billionaire in space” by fellow tycoon Richard Branson.

But the new addition to the crew lets Bezos snatch two other ego-massaging firsts: at 18 and 82-years-old, Oliver and fellow passenger Wally Funk will become the youngest and oldest astronauts to travel to space. Jeff’s brother Mark will take the remaining seat on the New Shepard rocket, which takes off on July 20.

Daemen said he’s “super excited to go to space.” The trip will fulfill a lifelong dream for the lucky lad, who earned his ticket fare through sheer hard work and determination.

I kid, I kid — it’s because he’s got a ludicrously wealthy daddy, Somerset Capital Partners CEO Joes Daemen.

Joes was a participant in the auction and had secured a place on the second flight. For reasons that remain unclear, he was moved up to the first once the seat became available — and generously gave it to his son.

This one Oliver who’s surely never had to ask for more. With the Netherlands’ COVID-19 infection rate skyrocketing, I just hope he’s vaccinated, or Bezos could become the first billionaire to catch a coronavirus in space.

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