Blue Origin Just Launched the Youngest Astronaut into Space

Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands, just became the youngest astronaut to travel to space.

Oliver Daemen. (Image courtesy of Instagram.)

Oliver Daemen. (Image courtesy of Instagram.)

Going to space is every kid’s dream—and for one 18-year-old, this dream came true.

Blue Origin’s July 20th launch included the youngest astronaut to travel to space. Eighteen-year-old Oliver Daemen from the Netherlands was the first paying customer to fly onboard New Shepard, and became the youngest astronaut when the suborbital reusable launch vehicle passed the Kármán Line, the internationally-recognized boundary of space. While the ticket price was not disclosed, it does mark the beginning of commercial operations for the program. 

Ever since the age of four, Daemen has been fascinated by space, the moon and rockets. According to the teen, his first memories of space were the TV show “Thunderbirds,” a British sci-fi show from the ’60s. 


“I think it’s the ultimate dream for so many people to go to space,” Daemen said in a video on Jeff Bezos’ Instagram page. “I feel a responsibility because I’m the youngest in space… and to get more people interested in space, and not even just space — but science —will be such an opportunity for me to do.”

While the teen is obtaining his private pilot license, he will be continuing his studies at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands to study physics and innovation management.


“When I touch down and get out of the vehicle, I think I’ll be just speechless,” he added.

Upon landing, the astronauts were greeted by their families and Blue Origin’s ground operations team for a celebration in the West Texas desert.  


This launch completed New Shepard’s first human flight with four private citizens. The passengers onboard were 82-year-old Wally Funk, the oldest astronaut to travel to space, Jeff Bezos, the richest astronaut to travel to space, and his brother Mark Bezos. The teen along with the other astronauts completed training for the suborbital flight. 

Daemen’s father Joes Daemen, who founded Somerset Capital Partners, secured a seat on Blue Origin’s second flight after losing to an anonymous bidder. The original winner of Blue Origin’s auction in June, who bid $28 million, chose to fly on a future mission due to scheduling conflicts. Blue Origin’s foundation Club for the Future announced that the auction gift helped them donate $1 million to each of 19 non-profit organizations. The organizations promote and encourage science and engineering outreach. 

According to the company, the rocket broke the internationally recognized boundary of space at an altitude of 100 kilometers, compared to Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic which broke the 50-mile border recognized by the United States. New Shepard’s reusable rockets are also more eco-friendly and can launch vertically off the ground, while Virgin Galactic’s air-launched spacecraft emits greenhouse gases and soot. 

Blue Origin expects to fly two more crewed flights this year, with many more crewed planned for 2022. 

Stay tuned for more updates from the post-flight press conference.