The 18-year-old son of a private equity investment firm CEO, is taking their seat.
Oliver Daemon, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands, will be joining Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on a journey of a lifetime next week: a trip to an altitude of 62 miles on board the Bezos-led Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket.
The original ticketholder, who shelled out $28 million for the ticket and has asked to remain anonymous, isn't tagging along.
Why? Because of "scheduling conflicts," according to a Blue Origin press release. That, of course, earned mockery online. Did the ultra-wealthy space enthusiast get cold feet? Who has a schedule packed enough to skip out on a trip to outer space?
Daemon is the son of a private equity investment firm CEO and one of the runners-up in the auction that awarded the unnamed millionaire with the $28 million ticket, according to The New York Times.
In other words, for the time being at least, you'll have to be filthy rich — or the heir to a gigantic fortune — to secure a ticket to space.
Blue Origin turned the awkward change of heart into a PR-boosting, feelgood story. Daemon will become the youngest "astronaut" to travel to space, according to the company. Wally Funk, an 82-year-old also scheduled to be on the flight, will become the oldest "astronaut" to travel to space as well.
Note the quote marks around "space." Whether any trips by Blue Origin or competitor Virgin Galactic actually count as space travel remains a matter of considerable debate.
Still, Blue Origin is maintaining an enthusiastic posture.
"[Daemon] was a participant in the auction and had secured a seat on the second flight," Sara Blask, a Blue Origin spokeswoman, told the NYT. "We moved him up when this seat on the first flight became available."
The wealthy heir is at least excited to go — and have his father pay for the trip.
"This is a dream come true!" the 18-year-old said in a news release. "This is so unbelievably cool! The flight to and into space only takes 10 minutes, but I already know that these will be the most special 10 minutes of my life."
READ MORE: Jeff Bezos Picks 18-Year-Old Dutch Student for Blue Origin Rocket Launch [The New York Times]
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