The winner of the first seat on Blue Origin‘s upcoming spaceflight, who paid $28 million USD at auction for the opportunity, has chosen to give up their seat due to “scheduling conflicts.”
Blue Origin announced the news in a press release on Thursday, saying that 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, who is studying to obtain his private pilot’s license, will make the journey instead. He joins CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark and 82-year-old Wally Funk, and will make history as the youngest person to travel to space.
The company initially announced the auction winner last month, keeping the name of the soon-to-be space explorer quiet. According to Blue Origin, nearly 7,600 people registered to bid from 159 countries.
The winner has chosen to fly on another date, the company said, adding that their donation has enabled Club for the Future to donate $1 million USD to 19 non-profit organizations helping to expand space possibilities.
Blue Origin said Daemen has been “fascinated by space, the Moon, and rockets since he was four.” The teen graduated in 2020 and took a gap year before continuing his pilot studies. In September, he will attend the University of Utrecht to study physics and innovation management.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is set to launch its 16th flight to space on July 20, the first with astronauts on board. The journey will be broadcast on BlueOrigin.com, with liftoff scheduled for 8:00 a.m. CDT.