Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin launched its New Shepard rocket for the fifth time this yr on Wednesday, and with Canadian actor William Shatner becoming a member of the corporate’s second crewed spaceflight up to now.
Known as NS-18, this New Shepard mission carried a crew of 4: Shatner, Blue Origin VP of mission and flight operations Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Medidata co-founder Glen de Vries.
Liftoff occurred at about 10:50 a.m. ET.
Shatner, who famously performed Capt. Kirk within the unique “Star Trek” tv sequence, is now the oldest individual to fly into house, at 90. The document was beforehand held by aerospace pioneer Wally Funk, who at 82 flew on Blue Origin’s first crewed launch in July.
The rocket launched from Blue Origin’s non-public facility in West Texas, reaching above 100,000 kilometers (or greater than 340,000 toes altitude) earlier than returning to Earth safely a couple of minutes later. From begin to end, the launch lasted about 11 minutes. The crew skilled about three minutes of weightlessness.
“Star Trek” actor William Shatner is introduced with a problem cash together with former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, medical analysis entrepreneur Glen de Vries and Blue Origin vp and engineer Audrey Powers earlier than their suborbital flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard mission NS-18 close to Van Horn, Texas, U.S. in a nonetheless picture from video broadcast October 13, 2021.
Blue Origin | Reuters
New Shepard’s capsule accelerated to greater than thrice the pace of sound to go past the 80 kilometer boundary (about 50 miles) the U.S. makes use of to mark the sting of house. The capsule is flown autonomously, with no human pilot, and returned below a set of parachutes to land within the Texas desert.
The New Shepard rocket booster can be reusable, and landed on a concrete pad close to the launch web site. NS-18 was the fourth launch and touchdown for this booster.
The corporate additionally flies New Shepard on cargo missions, such because the one in August, which carry analysis payloads within the capsule.
Blue Origin founder Bezos flew on the corporate’s first crewed spaceflight in July on a mission that marked his firm’s entrance into the sector of suborbital tourism, the place it competes with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Additionally within the non-public house tourism market is Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The corporate’s Crew Dragon capsule flies into orbit – many occasions the altitude of Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft – and spends days in house, moderately than minutes.
Whereas Bezos mentioned that Blue Origin has offered practically $100 million price of tickets to future passengers, the corporate has not disclosed the value of a seat on New Shepard.
The corporate’s newest crewed spaceflight comes as the Federal Aviation Administration opinions security considerations raised by present and former workers in an essay printed final month. Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith, in an e mail obtained by CNBC, responded to the security allegations by saying the corporate’s New Shepard program “went by means of a methodical and pain-staking course of to certify” the rocket to hold folks, including that “anybody that claims in any other case is uninformed and easily incorrect.”
Blue Origin is affected by escalating worker attrition, CNBC reported earlier this month. Departures embody the New Shepard program’s senior vp in August.
Powers, whose function consists of overseeing New Shepard program security, was notably invited by Bezos and Blue Origin’s senior management because the fourth and last member of the NS-18 crew to be a consultant for the corporate.
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