Meet Oliver Daemen, the Dutch teenager who just flew on Jeff Bezos' spaceflight and became the youngest person ever to reach space

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Meet Oliver Daemen, the Dutch teenager who just flew on Jeff Bezos' spaceflight and became the youngest person ever to reach space
Oliver Daemen. Blue Origin
  • Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands, just flew on Jeff Bezos' spaceflight.
  • Daemen was Blue Origin's first paying customer and replaced the anonymous auction winner.
  • Daemen has a pilots license, is fascinated by space, and will go to college for physics this fall.

Oliver Daemen just made history as the youngest person to travel to space.

On Tuesday, the Dutch teen joined Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, Bezos' brother Mark, and aviator Wally Funk aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft, which carried human passengers for the first time ever.

Daemen, who is currently 18, was Blue Origin's first paying customer - he bid for the seat at an auction last month, ultimately losing out to an anonymous bidder who paid $28 million for the opportunity. But Daemen is flying in that passenger's place after "scheduling conflicts" arose, Blue Origin said in a blog post on Thursday.

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In a video posted to Twitter before the launch, Daemen said he was "super excited" to go into space.

"I've been dreaming about this all my life," he said. "I am super excited to experience zero-g and see the world from above."

Read more: As Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson blast off, here are 11 of the most exciting space startups according to VCs

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So who is Oliver Daemen and how did he become a passenger on the Bezos' spaceflight? Here's what we know.

Daemen is the son of Joes Daemen, the CEO of a private equity firm

Joes Daemen founded Somerset Capital Partners, a real estate private equity firm, in 2005. The firm is based in Oisterwijk, Netherlands.

According to CNBC, Daemen participated in the auction and had already secured a seat on Blue Origin's second flight, but the company "moved him up" when the auction winner deferred. Daemen's father paid for the seat, though the company hasn't disclosed how much he paid, CNBC reports.

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He'll be a college freshman in the fall

Daemen graduated high school in 2020 and took a gap year - beginning this September, he'll attend the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands where he'll study physics and innovation management, according to Blue Origin.

He's a fan of underwater adventures and water sports

If Daemen's Instagram account is any indication, he's spent much of his free time on the water. Over the years, he's posted pictures of himself snorkeling, surfing, and wakeboarding.

He's rubbed elbows with Dutch celebrities

Daemen posted a photo to his Instagram account in 2018 of him, his sister, DJ Martin Garrix, and Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen.

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He's fascinated with flight and outer space

Daemen spent his gap year working on getting his pilots license, and this trip to space is the culmination of a lifelong interest, according to Blue Origin.

"Flying on New Shepard will fulfill a lifelong dream for Oliver, who has been fascinated by space, the Moon, and rockets since he was four," the company said.

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