Blue Origin: Jeff Bezos launches into space on New Shepard rocket
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90-year-old Canadian actor William Shatner will boldly go where few people have dared to go before today. This will soon make Shatner, who is famed for his role as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, the oldest person ever to go into space.
Shatner was invited to fly with Bezos’ four-person crew by the Amazon billionaire, who is a huge fan of the hit 1960s TV series that made the actor a household name.
Lift-off was supposed to take place yesterday, but it was delayed by 24 hours because of high winds at the launch site.
The second ever crewed Blue Origin flight will blast off from the Texas desert at 10am EDT and UK viewers can watch the launch live at 3pm on Blue Origin’s YouTube channel.
Shatner has since expressed some reservations about the mission, but seems determined to approach the adventure with a positive mindset.
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“I’m thrilled and anxious and a little nervous and a little frightened about this whole new adventure.
“But I’ve got to think that once it’s done, once I’ve been into space and seen the universe and seen our Earth and the contrast between that hostility and this warmth,” he continued.
“And how important it is to keep the Earth alive so that we don’t wreck it, we human beings don’t wreck it – that contrast in all of that is so dramatic to me.”
Another crew member to join Shatner on Blue Origin’s tourism and research rocket New Shepard NS-18 is Vice President of Mission and Flight operations Audrey Powers.
Other astronauts on the crew include Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, and Glen de Vries, the co-founder of Medidata Solutions.
The grandfather-of-five’s voyage will also break the record set by aerospace pioneer Wally Funk, 82, who was one of four crew members to travel on Blue Origin’s inaugural flight.
The rocket also successfully launched Blue Origin’s founder, Jeff Bezos, into space back in July.
The billionaire and founder of Amazon reached an altitude of 66.5 miles and even played with a few ping pong balls while floating in zero gravity for a few minutes during his flight.
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The trip’s total flight time is surprisingly short, lasting only 10 minutes from liftoff to landing, which means the elderly actor will not be stuck up in space for too long.
The rocket is designed to carry a capsule up past the US boundary of space, where the crew can have a blast floating around at an 80km altitude for a few minutes before they land safely back on earth, with parachutes to soften the blow.
These Blue Origin space trips could usher in a whole new era of space tourism, with Bezoz claiming that his company has already sold almost $100 million worth of tickets to future passengers.
This idea of space tourism was solidified in the Amazon founder’s debut expedition, which saw the 18-year-old son of a Dutch hedge fund manager, Oliver Daemen, take to the stars.
Shatner said: “I really want to tell you the message I get first hand from seeing things that we’ve only heard about.
“Things I’ve only played as an actor, I’m going to see first-hand.
“These things that we’ve only learned about second-hand or third-hand.
“I’m first-hand going to be in space.”
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