Blue Origin announced that instead of a $28 million auction winner launching with founder Jeff Bezos on Tuesday, the Dutch son of another bidder will be on board.

The 18-year-old from the Netherlands is about to become the youngest person in space
The 18-year-old from the Netherlands is about to become the youngest person in space (Daemen Family via AP / AP)

An 18-year-old is to become the youngest person to fly to space, with an aviation pioneer who will become the oldest at age 82.

Blue Origin announced on Thursday that instead of a $28 million auction winner launching with founder Jeff Bezos on Tuesday, the Dutch son of another bidder will be on board. 

The company said Oliver Daemen will be the first paying customer, but did not disclose the price of his ticket. 

But a family spokesperson said it will be considerably less than the winning bid.

Daemen snagged the fourth and last seat on the space capsule after the auction winner stepped aside because of a scheduling conflict.

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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. 

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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.

Blue Origin has yet to open ticket sales to the public or disclose its anticipated prices. That’s expected following the upcoming flight.

Source: AP