Dutch teenager will become the youngest astronaut in space ever today

Dutch teenager, 18, who credits Thunderbirds for triggering his interest in rockets will become the youngest astronaut in space today after his equity boss father paid for his spot on Jeff Bezos’ New Shepard rocket

  • Student Oliver Daemen, 18, has been passionate about space from a young age
  • ‘Ready to fly Into Space!’ he wrote Monday alongside pictures of him in uniform 
  • A physics student, Oliver is also working towards gaining a private pilot’s license 
  • On Tuesday, he will travel on Jeff Bezos’ New Shephard commercial rocket
  • Also on board will be Bezos, his brother Mark and astronaut Wally Funk, 82
  • Oliver gained a spot on the flight thanks to his millionaire father’s auction bid
  • He was originally due to go on the second flight but was bumped up after the anonymous winning bidder pulled out due to an undisclosed scheduling conflict 

A Dutch teenager is set to make history today by becoming the youngest astronaut in space after snagging a spot on Jeff Bezos’ New Shepard rocket.

Physics student Oliver Daemen, 18, credits Thunderbirds with sparking his fascination with space and rockets at a young age.

In an Instagram post a day before launching, Oliver wrote: ‘Ready to fly Into Space!,’ alongside two pictures of himself in the bright blue Blue Origin jumpsuit he will wear into space, which bears the flag of the Netherlands on the right arm. 

The recent high school graduate, who is working towards gaining a private pilot’s license, enjoys a raft of outdoor activities, including wakeboarding, snorkeling and surfing.

He will be part of the first crewed flight of the New Shepard, a rocket ship built by Bezos’ company Blue Origin to cater to a future market for space tourism, which launches today from a site near Van Horn, Texas.

Joining Oliver on the flight will be Bezos himself, his businessman brother Mark Bezos, Mary Wallace ‘Wally’ Funk – a pioneering female astronaut who is making her maiden voyage into space aged 82 – and two other passengers.  

Oliver Daemen, a Dutch teenager who credits Thunderbirds for sparking his interest in rockets, is set to become the youngest astronaut in space ever today after snagging a spot on Jeff Bezos’ New Shepard rocket. Pictured: Oliver (left) with his father Joes


‘Ready to fly Into Space!,’ Oliver wrote in an Instagram post on Monday alongside two pictures of himself in the bright blue Blue Origin jumpsuit he will wear into space, which bears the flag of the Netherlands on the right arm.

Oliver, 18, (left) originally secured a spot on the second New Shepard flight after his millionaire equity boss father came second in an auction. But the anonymous winner had to drop out due to an undisclosed scheduling conflict

Pictured: A young Oliver in a video message he shared after his place aboard the flight was publicly confirmed

In a video message after his place aboard the flight was publicly confirmed, Oliver said he was ‘super excited’ to have the chance to fulfil a lifelong dream. 

‘I think it’s the ultimate dream for so many people to go to space. I guess my first memories of space were Thunderbirds. I was a big fan of that, watched every single episode there was – that was like the big thing with rockets and everything,’ he said. 

Thunderbirds was a long-running British science-fiction television program following the missions of the International Rescue team.

Oliver’s dream was made possible by his father Joes Daemen, who placed the second place bid in the auction, before the $28 million winning bidder deferred to a later flight. 

The second bid originally secured a space on the second New Shepard flight, which the winning bidder will now travel on. 

It is not known how much Mr Daemen, the founder and CEO of Dutch private equity firm Somerset Capital Partners, bid.

‘He was a participant in the auction and had secured a seat on the second flight,’ the spokesperson said via email. ‘We moved him up when this seat on the first flight became available,’ Blue Origin confirmed to DailyMail.com earlier this month.

‘At 18-years-old and 82-years-young, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk represent the youngest and oldest astronauts to travel to space,’ Blue Origin said in a statement.

Joining Oliver (second from right) on the flight will be Jeff Bezos (centre), his brother Mark Bezos (left), Mary Wallace ‘Wally’ Funk (right) – a pioneering female astronaut who is making her maiden voyage into space aged 82 – and two other passengers

https://www.instagram.com/p/CRe-_LRjTns/

A post shared by Oliver Daemen (@oliver_daemen)

 

GeekWire reported that Oliver graduated from high school last year and took a gap year before continuing working towards his private pilot’s license in Spain.

He is due to begin a degree in physics and innovation management at the University of Utrecht in September. 

Pictures on Oliver’s Instagram account show him snorkeling, diving and wakeboarding, as well as posing with Dutch DJ Martin Garrix and Belgian-Dutch Formula One driver Max Verstappen. 

Oliver’s mother, Eline Daemen Dekker, is an ambassador at Somerset Capital Partners Foundation and volunteers with a programme to combat loneliness among the elderly. She previously worked as a cabin crew member for KLM for five years. He also has a sister named Charlotte.

Blue Origin said Tuesday’s launch ‘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.’

The auction gift has allowed Club for the Future to donate $1million each to 19 non-profit organizations, which are all supporting living and working in space. 

GeekWire reported that Oliver (pictured) graduated from high school last year and took a gap year before continuing working towards his private pilot’s license in Spain

Oliver is due to begin a degree in physics and innovation management at the University of Utrecht in September

Oliver (centre) is seen with his proud parents on his high school graduation day this summer

The recent high school graduate, who is working towards gaining a private pilot’s license, enjoys a raft of outdoor activities, including wakeboarding (pictured), snorkeling and surfing

The winner of the auction beat 20 other participants in a bidding spree at auction that began in late May and wrapped up with a 10-minute online bidding frenzy in late June, livecast by Blue Origin.  

Today’s launch – which coincides with the anniversary of the moon landing – will be the first test of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket with people on board, kicking off the company’s space tourism business.  

Blue Origin named the New Shepard program after astronaut Alan Shepard, who was the first American to fly into space exactly 60 years ago.

Fifteen previous test flights of the reusable rocket, which brings the capsule to an altitude of more than 340,000 fleet, and capsule since 2015 – short hops lasting about 10 minutes – were all successful.

Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man and a lifelong space enthusiast, was pipped to the post of launching the first commercial space flight by fellow billionaire businessman Richard Branson, who flew with his Virgin Galactic space plane nine days ago.

Today’s launch – which coincides with the anniversary of the moon landing – will be the first test of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket with people on board, kicking off the company’s space tourism business. Pictured: Oliver and a relative

Blue Origin said Tuesday’s launch ‘marks the beginning of commercial operations for New Shepard, and Oliver (pictured) represents a new generation of people who will help us build a road to space’

Oliver (pictured) will be part of the first crewed flight of the New Shepard, a rocket ship built by Bezos’ company Blue Origin to cater to a future market for space tourism, which launches today from a site near Van Horn, Texas

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