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Business News/ News / World/  Man who paid $28 mn for space travel with Jeff Bezos drops out due to scheduling conflict
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Man who paid $28 mn for space travel with Jeff Bezos drops out due to scheduling conflict

The four will blast off from West Texas atop a New Shepard rocket for a 10-minute flight.

(FILES) This file handout photo taken on April 24, 2015 obtained courtesy of Blue Origin shows Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard's West Texas launch facility before the rocket's maiden voyage. (AFP)Premium
(FILES) This file handout photo taken on April 24, 2015 obtained courtesy of Blue Origin shows Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard's West Texas launch facility before the rocket's maiden voyage. (AFP)

An 18-year-old physics student whose father heads an investment management firm is set to take the place of a person who put up $28 million in an auction to take part in the inaugural space tourism flight for billionaire Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin company.

Blue Origin said on Thursday Oliver Daemen will join the four-member all-civilian crew for Tuesday's scheduled flight after the auction winner, whose name had not been made public, dropped out due to unspecified "scheduling conflicts." Daemen becomes the company's first paying customer.

Daemen snagged the fourth and last seat on the space capsule after the auction winner stepped aside because of a scheduling conflict. The offer came in a surprise phone call from Blue Origin last week, he said.

Also on Blue Origin’s first launch with passengers: Bezos’ brother and Wally Funk, one of 13 female pilots who went through the same tests in the early 1960s as NASA's Mercury 7 astronauts but never made it into space because only men were allowed.

The four will blast off from West Texas atop a New Shepard rocket for a 10-minute flight. The Amazon founder will become the second person to ride his own rocket into space, following Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson by nine days.

The teen tourist was going to be on the second launch for paying customers, according to Blue Origin. But once the auction winner dropped out, the company seized on the idea of flying the oldest and youngest people in space on the same flight, the family spokesperson noted.

His undisclosed ticket cost will be donated to charity, just as most of the winning $28 million was distributed this week to a variety of space education and advocacy groups.

“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," Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said in a statement.


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Published: 17 Jul 2021, 05:21 AM IST
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