The billionaire space race is well underway. Amazon founder and currently the richest person in the world, Jeff Bezos’s rocket company Blue Origin has announced its first paying customer, Oliver Daemen, who at the tender age of 18 will also be the youngest person to travel to space.
Daemen will be off to space with Jeff Bezos, his brother, Mark, and pilot Wally Funk, who — at 82 — will be the oldest person to travel to space, when they launch into space on the New Shepard rocket come 20 July.
According to NBC News, Funk is a pilot and flight instructor and was part of Mercury 13, a group of female pilots who underwent testing to determine whether women could handle space travel.
The article also mentioned that Funk will break the age record set by astronaut John Glenn, who travelled to space in 1998 at the age of 77.
In a statement on Blue Origin’s website, they mention how Daemen is fulfilling a lifelong dream and the youngster has been fascinated by space since he was four.
“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,” says Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith in the statement.
According to the Blue Origin site, 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.