Jeff Bezos Picks 18-Yr-Previous Dutch Scholar for Blue Origin Rocket Launch
“This is a dream come true!” Said Mr. Daemen in a family press release. “I wasn’t expecting it at all until the surprise call came from Blue Origin last week. This is so incredibly cool! The flight into space and space only takes 10 minutes, but I already know that these will be the best 10 minutes of my life. “
Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft is designed for short space tourist flights, similar to Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. But unlike Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft design, New Shepard is more of a traditional rocket that launches vertically. At the upper end of the arch, the capsule, which can seat up to six people, separates from the booster. The booster and capsule reach a height of over 62 miles, which is considered by many to be the limit of outer space. The landing of the capsule is slowed down by a parachute.
On this first flight there will be four people on board: Mr. Daemen; Mr. Bezos; Mr. Bezos’ brother Mark; and Mary Wallace Funk, a pilot who, in the 1960s, was one of a group of women who met the same stringent criteria NASA used when selecting astronauts. But that was at a time when the space agency had no interest in choosing women as astronauts.
At 18, Mr. Daemen will be the youngest person to have ever flown into space. At 82, Ms. Funk, whose name is Wally, will be the oldest.
According to the family’s press release, Mr Daemen and his father Joes Daemen, founders of Somerset Capital Partners in the Netherlands, were intrigued by the opportunity to board the flight. “But when the bids skyrocketed during the auction, we got out,” said Joe’s Daemen.
Blue Origin did not disclose how much the Daemens paid for the seat; She has not yet publicly announced a price for tickets. According to the Daemens, the price is much lower than the $ 28 million hammer price. The money they paid will be donated by Blue Origin to an undisclosed charity.
On Wednesday, Blue Origin announced that $ 19 million of the $ 28 million award will go to 19 space nonprofits – $ 1 million each. The winners include AstraFemina, a collective of women in the natural and engineering sciences who want to serve as role models for girls; the Brook Owens Fellowship, which offers paid internships and scholarships for female students; and Higher Orbits, an experimental learning laboratory for high school students.
Kitty Bennett contributed the research and Claire Moses contributed the translation.