A LAST minute change of plans means billionaire Jeff Bezos will be taking a teenager on his trip to space next week.
The teen is replacing the charity auction winner who spent $28 million for a ticket on the New Shepard spaceship.
The original ticket holder can no longer be on the Blue Origin New Shepard rocket “due to scheduling conflicts.”
That means Dutch teenager and gap year student Oliver Daemen is set to become the first paying customer on New Shepard.
Blue Origin has not revealed how much Daemen paid for the ticket.
The official Blue Origin Twitter account has tweeted a picture of Daemen.
The space company said: "Today, Blue Origin announced Oliver Daemen will be the first paying customer to fly on board New Shepard, marking the beginning of commercial operations for the program.
"He will join Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk aboard the first human flight on July 20.
"At 18-years-old and 82-years-young, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk represent the youngest and oldest astronauts to travel to space."
The anonymous passenger who Daemen is replacing still wants to take a trip on New Shepard but at a later date.
"Oliver Daemen will be the first paying customer to fly on board New Shepard."
Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin, said: "We thank the auction winner for their generous support of Club for the Future and are honored to welcome Oliver to fly with us on New Shepard.
"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."
Teenager Daemen graduated from high school in 2020 and has taken a gap year to obtain his private pilot’s licence.
He plans to start at the University of Utrecht in September to study physics and innovation management.
Daemen will be blasting off to space with Bezos at 14:00 BST (9:00 EST) on Tuesday July 20.
You'll be able to watch the trip live on BlueOrigin.com or on the firm’s YouTube channel.
Blue Origin’s flight path to suborbital space
A step-by-step guide to the journey…
- New Shepard is a reusable rocket with an attached crew capsule for passengers.
- New Shepard will launch vertically for about two and a half minutes before main engine cut-off.
- The capsule will then separate from the rocket; passengers will be weightless for about four minutes during the 11-minute flight.
- Those on-board will be high enough (at an altitude of 307,000 feet or 93,573 meters) to see the curvature of Earth.
- The spacecraft will coast for a few minutes in space before re-entering the atmosphere.
- New Shepard will land using an autonomous, rocket powered vertical landing system.
In other news, Elon Musk has taken to Twitter to hit back at people complaining about billionaires going to space.
A Nasa study has revealed how a 'wobble' in the Moon's orbit could cause devastating flooding in the 2030s.
And, Sir Richard Branson has described his landmark spaceflight over the weekend as "extreme in every way" and a "dream come true".
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