Sunday, October 17, 2021

Blue Origin blasts ‘Star Trek’ actor William Shatner to space

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Jeff Bezos’ “Blue Origin” will blow up Canadian actor William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the Star Trek TV series on Wednesday morning, on the edge of space.

The science-fiction actor, 90, will officially become the oldest person to travel into space — even filling the record set by Wally Funk 82 on his Blue Origin first crew flight earlier this year.

“I’m amazed to look at space,” Shatner said in a video posted online by Blue Origin on Tuesday.

The flight, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was delayed by a day due to strong winds.

Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of missions and flights, is also joining the flight, along with Chris Boshuizen, one of the founders of Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, founder of Medidata.

The Blue Origin flight, which includes William Shatner, will begin at its base in Van Horn, Texas.
The New Shepard rocket will feature Chris Boshuizen (left), William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries.
The New Shepard rocket will feature Chris Boshuizen (left), William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries.

The flight, scheduled to begin at Blue Origin’s facility in Van Horn, Texas, will take about 11 minutes, and its crew will cross an internationally recognized space boundary known as the Karman Line at 62 miles above Earth.

The latest launch came amid a wave of interest from the public, billionaire entrepreneurs and investors, at a time when competition is intensifying in the new era space race.

This summer, Blue Origin rival Virgin Galactic launched its founder, Sir Richard Branson, into space a week before Bezos set out on a journey.

William Shatner with Jeff Bezos preparing for a historic trip on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
William Shatner with Jeff Bezos preparing for a historic trip on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.

And the excitement in the industry has increased the fortune of SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, whose company now exceeds $ 100 billion.

This is the second flight of the Blue Origin, which launches its own personal astronauts into space with the New Shepard rocket.

Bezos, 57, first went into space in July with his brother Mark Bezos, pioneer pilot Funk and wealthy Dutch student Oliver Daemen, who became the youngest man to go into space at 18 years old.

Star Trek legend William Shatner is holding a message on October 13, 2021 as he prepares for an 11-minute journey into space.
Star Trek legend William Shatner is holding a message on October 13, 2021 as he prepares for an 11-minute journey into space.

The four ascended to a height of 66.5 miles above the Earth in New Shepard, about 10 minutes above the ground.

“I … want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you paid for it,” Bezos said after returning from the trip.

“Seriously, thank you from the bottom of my heart for every Amazon customer and every Amazon employee. It’s very much appreciated.”

The Blue Origin flight takes a little over 10 minutes. The rocket crosses the official U.S. space boundary and gives the crew microgravity for a few minutes before returning to Earth after parachuting down.

The company’s recent launch has faced growing challenges. The Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing security issues raised last month by 21 current and former employees in an anonymous essay.

The letter described the toxic and sexual environment at Blue Origin, and most of the signatories did not feel safe from flying the company’s rockets into space.

“Fortunately for Blue Origin, luck has laughed because nothing has happened so far,” said the unnamed engineer who signed the letter.

In response, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith did not admit any wrongdoing and did not apologize to employees via email, instead reassuring employees that the rocket manufacturer “does not tolerate discrimination and harassment.”

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