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Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos, launched its New Shepard rocket for the sixth mission this year on Wednesday, with Canadian actor William Shatner aboard. This New Shepard expedition, dubbed NS-18, was crewed by Shatner, Audrey Powers, co-founder of Planet Labs, Chris Boshuizen, and Glen de Vries, co-founder of Medidata. Shatner, who is most known for his role as Captain Kirk in the original “Star Trek” television series, has become the oldest person to go into space at the age of 90. So, the relevancy of the news of William Shatner launches into space is the new era for toady.
Main Highlights of the Article: William Shatner Launches into Space
NS-18 is the 18th flight of the New Shepard rocket, and it is the second mission to carry human passengers. It is planned to launch from Launch Site One in West Texas on Wednesday, October 13, according to the company. Opening of the launch window is planned to begin at 9:00 a,m. CT (10:00 a,m. ET/7:30 am PT) on Monday, April 1. Shatner, 90, will set the record (William Shatner launches into space) for the oldest person to ever fly to the International Space Station.
In addition to Shatner, Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission and Flight Operations, and two paying passengers, Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries, will accompany him on the flight. The journey is expected to take around 11 minutes and will send the team to a height of 60 miles above the surface of the Earth. Before returning home, they should spend around four minutes in zero gravity to prepare for the journey.
Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos traveled to space on Blue Origin’s first crewed mission in July, signaling the company’s entry into the suborbital tourism industry, where it will compete with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is also a participant in the commercial space transportation industry. Unlike Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft, Crew Dragon’s capsule flies into orbit at a height several times greater than that of other companies’ spacecraft, and it stays in orbit for days rather than minutes.
The cost of a seat on New Shepard has not been disclosed by Blue Origin, despite Bezos’ claim that the company has sold more than $100 million in tickets to potential passengers thus far. Having reached the age of 90, Shatner, best known for his portrayal as Captain Kirk in the original “Star Trek” television series, has become the world’s oldest person to travel into outer space. The previous record holder was Wally Funk, an aerospace pioneer who, at the age of 82, flew on Blue Origin’s first crewed launch in July, breaking the previous record.
New Shepard’s capsule traveled at speeds greater than three times the speed of sound in order to overcome the 80-kilometer (about 50-mile) space barrier that separates the United States from the rest of the world. The capsule is flown autonomously, without the assistance of a human pilot, and then returned to the Texas desert via a series of parachute landings in a controlled environment.
As an added bonus, the reusable New Shepard rocket booster made an emergency landing on a concrete platform close to the launch site. NS-18 was the fourth launch and landing for this particular rocket.
In a few minutes, the rocket blasted off from Blue Origin’s private site in West Texas and flew more than 100 kilometers (or more than 340,000 feet) into space before safely re-entering the atmosphere a few minutes later. From beginning to end, the launch took around 11 minutes. The crew was in weightlessness for around three minutes.
A recent story on the company’s last crewed spaceflight coincided with an inquiry into safety concerns raised by current and former workers. The Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating these issues. CNBC obtained an email from Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith in which he responded to the safety allegations by stating that the company’s New Shepard program “went through a methodical and painstaking process to certify” the rocket for human transport, and that “anyone who claims otherwise is uninformed and simply incorrect.”
According to a story published earlier this month (William Shatner launches into space), Blue Origin is witnessing an uptick in employee turnover. The resignation of the senior vice president of the New Shepard program was announced in August.
Powers, whose role include management of the New Shepard program’s safety, was notably invited by Bezos and Blue Origin’s top leadership to serve as the company’s representative on the NS-18 crew as the fourth and final member, a move that has garnered widespread attention since its announcement.
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