Jeff Bezos Space Trip: Noble Mission or PR Stunt?

This afternoon its time for billionaire Jeff Bezos. He himself, his brother Mark, an 82-year-old NASA flight instructor and a Dutch teenager shooting a rocket from Bezos aerospace company Blue Origin at 3pm Dutch time. A happy fact for the company, but there is also criticism.

This Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen (18) is able to join us thanks to a successful bid for a seat auction organised by Bezos in the New Shephard space capsule. The spot was vacant because the real winner of that auction, who had offered 23 million euros, eventually dropped out.

Oliver said in a Bezos video on Instagram to look forward to space travel:

The real winner of the auction goes another time now. โ€œHe says he has a different obligation,โ€ says America correspondent Marieke de Vries in theCCEIT Radio 1 Journal. โ€œYoure wondering what could be more important than a trip to space, but thats why Oliver is now going into space.โ€

The Dutchman immediately holds two records after the space journey. He is the youngest astronaut ever and the first paying customer of the Bezos space company. Oliver didnt pay himself, by the way. That was Olivers father Joes Daemen, founder of investment fund Somerset Capital Partners Value Fund.

Business Journal Quote looked at the Chamber of Commerce data of this investment fund. This showed that 20 million euros of profits were made in 2019, mainly due to the development and sales of distribution centres.

There is no place in the Quote 500 for the investor, for that one needs to have a personal equity of 95 million, but Quote does not preclude this change in the near future. What Joes Daemen had left for his sons space voyage has not been disclosed.

Is it a good idea?

Blue Origin says he chose to give the place to Daemen now because he is young. Bezos told NBC Today yesterday that he chose the Dutchman because young people will discover the possibilities of space in the future.

Yet there is also criticism. Because is such a space journey of about ten minutes, from launch to return to Earth, a good idea at this time of climate change? โ€œFor example, critics wonder if we cant save our own earth before looking up,โ€ says De Vries.

See a summary of the New Shepard launch here:

The Amazon founder sees that differently, says De Vries. โ€œBezos hopes these people see how vulnerable the Earth is so they want to take better care of it.โ€

Bezos, in conversation with NBC Today, referred to astronauts who looked at Earth from space and only then realized how vulnerable the Earth is. โ€œI cant wait to find out what its going to do to me,โ€ he said.

But Bezos just wants to make money from it. The American is engaged in a fierce competition with billionaire Elon Musks SpaceX program. They both fight for billion-dollar contracts from NASA and other governments to build, for example, missiles that can be reused.

โ€œOf course thats mainly behind this, says De Vries. โ€œTodays launch is primarily a PR stunt to show what his business is technically capable of. And there will be enough critical eyes over his shoulders.โ€