back to article Buyer of $28m Blue Origin space ticket has a scheduling conflict – so this teen will go instead

A Dutch 18-year-old is set to be the youngest person to go into space after securing at the last minute a seat on Blue Origin’s first commercial spaceflight. Oliver Daemen will ride atop the aerospace upstart's New Shepard rocket, which is expected to launch on July 20. And he’ll have Blue Origin supremo Jeff Bezos, Bezos’ …

  1. ravenviz

    All I got when I was 18 was a very brief freefall experience on Oblivion at Alton Towers.

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      I'd rather not talk about the experiences I had at that age, I'd get banned.

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge

      You were lucky to have a freefall experience! At 18 all I had is to eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat me around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if I was lucky!

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        You had hot gravel? You soft Southern la-de-da! We had to eat our gravel cold! And we had to pick out all t'bluntest bits to give to our ma, who would, if we were lucky, regurgitate them into our waiting beaks... ah no, wait, I'm getting confused with baby birds again. Never mind.

        1. Kane Silver badge
          Joke

          "You had hot gravel?"

          You guys had gravel?

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Your dad had a bottle? Absolute luxury. All my Dad had was a rusty lid off of a tin can!

        1. Timbo Bronze badge

          "a tin can" ?

          You were lucky, we used to dream of a tin can....we had to make do with a rolled up newspaper !

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Timbo

            Appropriate name is appropriate.

            RIP TBT.

          2. Sigmund Fraud

            >>>> we used to dream of a tin can

            You guys had dreams ... all we had were nightmares

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Did you dream about that freefall experience all your life/since the age of 4?

    4. Danny 2 Silver badge

      My 18th birthday was a company (burr brown) pub party because it was the first time they'd made a profit. I wouldn't have went except a guy from stores was going and he was born the same day in the same town and I wanted to investigate him. He got off with a 28 year old barmaid who he'd been screwing for a while.

      I just got free drinks. I had a wee round table in front of me full of free drinks. I'm creative though, so the drinks were in a rainbow of colours.

      Red and yellow and pink and green

      Purple and orange and blue

      I can drink a rainbow

      Drink a rainbow

      Drink a rainbow too

      Disclaimer: I can also spew a rainbow

    5. DarkwavePunk

      When I turned 18 I was so horribly hungover from the night before that I missed out on the joy of legally buying an alcoholic beverage on my birthday.

  2. LDS Silver badge

    Time to change the rules

    These are not astronauts, these are payloads. After all, nobody gets pilot wings being a passenger on an airplane.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Time to change the rules

      To be fair, Wally's an astronaut ... but on this trip, she's just a passenger on board what is in essence a Vomit Comet taken to it's illogical conclusion.

      Perhaps we should change the "been into space" meaning from "poked nose above Kármán Line" to something more along the lines of "entered stable orbit requiring engine firing to return to Earth".

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Time to change the rules

        Orbit is about 30x as difficult as space so I am a bit of a snob about orbit compared to space. I am sure there have been plenty of mission specialists who were not pilots. They were effectively cargo on the way up and down but did useful research and maintenance while in space. I am quite happy calling them astronauts along with pilots in pressure suits who flew experimental aircraft to over 80km altitude without performing scientific research with their other hands.

        $1M to 19 charities is more than I have ever done and probably exceeds the sum of everyone else here too. Although "space tourist" may be a more accurate term I am not going to get angry about Jeff+fellow travellers getting called astronauts. The world is far from perfect but please try to see some of the good bits rather than focusing entirely on the bad and spending a shortened life being angry all the time.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Time to change the rules

          As I said, Wally's an astronaut. Did the training, should have had the oportunity to go into space decades ago. The other three are just tourists ... not even that, really. What is the proper noun for a rider of amusement park rides?

          The payload specialists & etc. who spend time in space are definitely astronauts, they've been through the training and spent enough time up there to do meaningful work. I would say the early test pilots in the astronaut programs are also included. But the three pure "look at me, I'm rich!" tourists? Not so much.

          Who is angry? Just musing on the obvious need for the English Language to mutate a little bit once again.

          1. ravenviz

            Re: Time to change the rules

            “What is the proper noun for a rider of amusement park rides?”

            A Coaster.

          2. Dom 3

            Re: Time to change the rules

            "As I said, Wally's an astronaut. Did the training" - nope. She "underwent the same physiological screening tests as had the astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959, for Project Mercury". In a completely unofficial and privately funded programme.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Time to change the rules

              Way to quote out of context. What they went through was a lot more extensive than a psych exam. They also did a lot of physical testing, and training ... which NASA ignored, being the misogynistic good ol' boys club that it was in the early '60s.

              If anybody cares, look up The Mercury 13.

              Link for the anti-pointy-clicky: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_13

              .

              1. Dom 3

                Re: Time to change the rules

                Like I wrote - "physiological screening".

                It was Eisenhower that decreed that the Mercury astronauts should be military test pilots.

                These days of course it has been mandated that the next American moon landing will include the first woman on the moon. Why can't she be chosen on merit? Why the tokenism?

                FWIW - for a Mars shot I reckon an all-female crew makes a lot of sense. Although that of course will never happen.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Time to change the rules

                  Sorry, mea culpa, for some reason I read that as "psychological screening". They also did that ... and quite extensively,too. My point was that their training was pretty close to the same as the actual astronauts, but without the physical NASA space mock-up training aids.

                  As you wrote: "Why can't she be chosen on merit? Why the tokenism?"

                  Because Tokenism is the new black; It's what is in fashion these days. Who needs merit when we've got a quota to fill‽‽‽

                  Paraphrasing Malcolm X: “What gains? All you have gotten is tokenism — three or four Women in a job, or at a lunch counter, or on the Moon, or as Vice President, so the rest of you will be quiet.”

                  1. Dom 3

                    Re: Time to change the rules

                    Sorry, I have to disagree. They did the *testing* not the *training*.

        2. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Time to change the rules

          I am sure there have been plenty of mission specialists who were not pilots. They were effectively cargo on the way up and down but did useful research and maintenance while in space. I am quite happy calling them astronauts along with pilots in pressure suits who flew experimental aircraft to over 80km altitude without performing scientific research with their other hands.

          I'm not sure the suggestion was to draw a direct comparison of "pilot = astronaut", more "crew vs. passengers". Mission specialists still had the capability to perform significant crew duties and will have cross-trained for a bunch of tasks that they are not expected to actually perform except in an emergency.

          Many of a ship's crew are not bridge crew or helm-trained. They might not be involved in the intricacies of casting off from a quayside or getting from a harbour to the open sea. There's nonetheless a difference between crew and passengers.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Time to change the rules

          Angry at perceived anger? What if your perception is wrong? Then you are "spending a shortened life being angry" for nothing. Oops.

          The good bits are Bezos and passengers are enjoying themselves and providing employment for people who want to work with rockets.

          I think there is unlikely to be any lasting contribution to science, however.

          The charity angle seems pretty unrelated to me - the scale is so different. Bezos spends about 3 billion a year on Blue Horizon.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Time to change the rules

            Again, who is angry?

            Colo(u)r me confuzled.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Time to change the rules

        IMHO you're an astronaut if you're part of the working crew of a "ship" going into space. And you're needed and trained to operate the ship or perform the ship tasks in space - even if you're not the pilot. Otherwise you're passenger.

        And still nobody woulds say a flight attendant, or even needed operators on military planes, are "aviators". Air(wo)man, yes.

        Anyway soon this way the term will become inflated, and real astronauts will need a new name.

        And it's not being angry, but I don't like when words are emptied of their real meaning.

        1. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Time to change the rules

          Anyway soon this way the term will become inflated, and real astronauts will need a new name.

          Yes, ultimately having a separate word for "someone who has been to space" will be a bit redundant.

          You'll have flight crew, passengers, etc just like flying. You might be a frequent flyer, but you're still a a passenger.

          We're just in that awkward transition phase where the market starts to open up from a handful of pioneers to "public access".

      3. Flywheel Silver badge

        Re: Time to change the rules

        Maybe Wally will hijack the capsule and do a joyride around the moon while holding the others hostage. I'd pay to see that on YouTube!

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Time to change the rules

          Bit of a fuel and air problem there. To say nothing about toilet facilities ... or lack thereof.

          The so-called "astronauts" don't have access to the controls, either ...

    2. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Re: Time to change the rules

      "After all, nobody gets pilot wings being a passenger on an airplane."

      Not true! I was given wings as a small child. Made me so happy. But even I knew better than to claim it made me a pilot. This "youngest astronaut" claim reminds me of the fallacy of the beard, i.e. one whisker does not equal a beard. There are those who are clearly astronauts, there are those who are arguably astronauts, and there are those who are definitely not astronauts. What is the word for someone who is definitely not an astronaut, but says they are?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Time to change the rules

        I got THREE sets! One from BOAC, one from Pan Am and one from TWA :-)

        Flying BOAC as an American family in the mid 1960s was an exercise in frustration ... the Very British ground and cabin staff were even more snooty towards Yanks than most ElReg commentards. We only flew them twice ... Dad figured the first time was a fluke. In his mind, no public facing company could be that rude to it's customers and stay in business for very long. I guess he didn't realize they were State owned ...

      2. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Time to change the rules

        heady days. I remember being allowed to talk to the captain and look in the aircraft cockpit as a teenager. I was in the ATC at the time and the captain was ex ATC. I was given a small enamel wings too, we chatted about flying as I was half way through my glider pilots at the time. Granted this was 40 years ago, in a different era.

        As for the article, if I had this much disposable income i'd jump at the chance to be a real kerbal.

      3. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: What is the word for someone who is definitely not an astronaut, but says they are?

        Dickhead?

  3. Paul Herber Silver badge

    Blue Origin Ticket

    Blue Origin Ticket

    Anyone interested?

    This may be of interest to one of you. A friend of mine has a ticket

    for a flight on Blue Origin. He paid $28 million, but he didn't

    realise when he bought it that it was going to be the same day as his

    Covid 19 postponed wedding. If you are interested, he is looking for

    someone to take his place.

    It's at Pontypridd Registry Office, at 4.30pm. The Bride's name is

    Megan, she's 29, about 5'4", quite pretty, has her own income and

    is a really good cook.

    <paraphrased from a rugby ticket joke>

  4. Ali Dodd
    Devil

    only SOME of the 28 mill is going to charity?

    "At least some of the money from the auction will go to Blue Origin’s non-profit firm Club for the Future, which will donate $1m to 19 charities."

    So Bezos the richest scumbag man in the work will pocket most of the 27 mill left? Oh god we are so screwed by the rich.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: only SOME of the 28 mill is going to charity?

      I think that was 1 million to 19 charities EACH (so 19 million total). But yeah, that still leaves a cool 8 million.

      There's been days I've had less income. (over 12.000 and counting so far)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: only SOME of the 28 mill is going to charity?

        Just days? There have been entire years for me ... Decades, in fact (the first two were particularly bad).

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: only SOME of the 28 mill is going to charity?

          what do you think 12000 days entails?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: only SOME of the 28 mill is going to charity?

            Sounds like you might be in need of a humo(u)r transplant.

          2. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: only SOME of the 28 mill is going to charity?

            oh the old which is heavier, a pound of lead or a pound of feathers. Still gets the grandkids that one. Mainly because the only pound they know is round and buys things.

    2. Jon 37 Silver badge

      Re: only SOME of the 28 mill is going to charity?

      The money is going to Blue Origin, not Jeff Bezos personally.

      Building and testing and launching the rocket wasn't free. It was an investment made in the hope of making money by selling tickets in future. Like the way every other startup company works.

      28 million is actually not that much compared to how much has already been invested in this.

      Be thankful that some of the money is going to charity. Don't begrudge the company it's revenue.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: only SOME of the 28 mill is going to charity?

        "Be thankful..."

        If it takes a demonstration of the over-privileged putting their name on things, for the over-privileged to be "charitable"... thankfully for them, people aren't physically unthankful (yet).

  5. Howard Sway Silver badge

    "Now I'll become the youngest astronaut ever because I'm 18 years old"

    No, you'll become the youngest astronaut ever because your dad is a multimillionaire willing to spend millions on a brief joyride for his spoilt son.

    It'll be the best 3 minutes of your life, until you get to university and find an attractive someone who's impressed with your "I've been to space" brags.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: "Now I'll become the youngest astronaut ever because I'm 18 years old"

      IF he actually lasts 3 minutes in that last endeavour.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: "Now I'll become the youngest astronaut ever because I'm 18 years old"

        Does that include the time it takes to eat the pizza?

  6. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Source of wealth

    Jeff is wealthy, because he didn't share the value workers have created with them. His company also does not seem to pay their fair share of tax.

    There is a word in a dictionary that describes such person.

    1. nijam Silver badge

      Re: Source of wealth

      > There is a word in a dictionary that describes such person.

      Well, two words actually: normal human.

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Source of wealth

      Given the name of the financial services company, is it by any chance related to a financial company that Jacob Rees Mogg* is involved with as the names are suspiciously similar & cannot think of a great reason for "Somerset" being main part of a Dutch company name?

      * I was really well behaved & did not add a #ToryScum hashtag

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wally Funk is there for spiritual insurance

    If she wasn't aboard the combined weight of prayers for the thing to crash would ensure splattification of the over-paid load.

  8. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    STOP! BURNING! MY! OXYGEN!

    Amazon is fsucked, as are we:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-57839364

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Boffin

      Subtle distinction

      Oxygen doesn't burn.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Subtle distinction

        Oxygen burns quite nicely in a reducing atmosphere.

        Has nothing to do with the comment, nor the provided link, though.

        This being ElReg, neither of which have anything to do with the OA, of course.

  9. DogsPavlova

    Scheduling Conflict???

    To the guy with the so-called "scheduling conflict"....you're supposed to soil your pants during the flight, not before it....

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Scheduling Conflict???

      That was my take on it, too. He paid his money to embiggen[0] himself in the eyes of <somebody(s)>, thinking there was no way it would ever happen. And then it did, so he chickened out, the nameless, faceless over-bidder with more money than brains that he is.

      Playmobil at eleven.[1]

      And you wonder why he'll remain an AC 'til his dying days ...

      [0] Hey, it's a perfectly good ElReg word!

      [1] Doesn't this whole spoiled billionaire vs. spoiled billionaire cat-fight deserve a full-blown ElReg Playmobil reconstruction? Or is it just me?

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