Next Tuesday, the inaugural passenger flight of the New Shepherd rocket of Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight spin-off to Amazon, is set to launch for a brief flight into the edge of space. Besides the crew, there are four passenger seats available: one for Bezos, one for his brother Mark, one for famous aviator Wally Funk, and one extra. That extra seat was auctioned off at a charity auction back in June, with the winning bid coming in at a whopping $28 million. Now, maybe I’m ignorant, but if I dropped $28 million on a ticket to space, I’d personally want to block of some time on my schedule for it. But apparently, our mystery multi-millionaire is too busy to go to space.
CNBC relayed a report from Blue Origin that the anonymous bidder had officially surrendered their seat on the vessel, with the cited reason being “scheduling conflicts.” Regardless, due to their contribution, the anonymous bidder has been promised a seat on a future New Shepherd mission. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether the “scheduling conflict” is genuine or if the bidder just changed their mind, but according to aviation experts, it’s understandable to not want to go on what may be a very dangerous voyage. Around 1% of manned spaceflight missions end in a fatal accident, which is higher than it sounds.
“It’s about 10,000 times more dangerous than flying on a commercial airliner,” former Federal Aviation Administration associate administrator and report co-author George Nield told Business Insider.
A Dutch 18-year-old would become the youngest person ever to go to space on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket launch scheduled for Tuesday. Oliver Daemen takes the spot of another passenger who paid $28 million for the seat but had a scheduling conflict. https://t.co/SPvWMEGdH0
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 15, 2021
In the bidder’s place, the next candidate for the flight has been granted the fourth seat: 18-year-old recent high school grad Oliver Daemen, whose father, Somerset Capital Partners CEO Joes Daemen, paid an undisclosed (but likely exorbitant) sum to get his son on the waiting list.