An 18-year-old who has been selected for Jeff Bezos
' upcoming spaceflight will become the youngest person to travel to space, Bezos' company Blue Origin
Oliver Daemen, who graduated from high school
last year, was able to secure a spot on the New Shepard
ship's July 20 trip after the person who won the spot in an auction had a scheduling conflict. Daemen will also be Blue Origin's first paying customer, marking the Bezos-funded company's first foray into commercial space travel
“This marks the start 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
Daemen has been “fascinated by space, the Moon, and rockets since he was four,” according to the company, and has been working toward obtaining his pilot’s license. He will attend Utrecht University
in the Netherlands
in September to study physics and innovation
“I've been dreaming about this my entire life,” Daemen said in a video message Thursday, “and now I'll be the youngest astronaut ever.”
The 18-year-old Oliver Daemen of Tilburg is the youngest astronaut ever and the fourth Dutchman in space. He is traveling to Texas
, where the launch will take place on July 15, 2021. https://t.co/hMsJWorRQK
pic.twitter.com/5Xl3mqSAJt — Bright (@Bright) July 15, 2021
The current record
holder for the youngest person in space is late Soviet cosmonaut Ghermon Titov, who was 25 years old when he went into space.
Daemen will be joined on the flight by Amazon
founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk
, the oldest person ever to go to space.
Funk, 82, was the first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board and the first female Federal Aviation Agency inspector. She was also one of 13 women
who went through a rigorous testing process in the 1960s to determine whether women were fit for space. She and the other women tested on par with men, but NASA
refused to accept female pilots at the time
“They told me that I had done better and completed the work faster than any of the guys,” Funk said earlier this month in a video posted to Bezos’ Instagram
In his caption, Bezos wrote, "No one has waited longer."
The New Shepard is scheduled to take off from a remote desert location in Van Horn, Texas, on Tuesday.