William Shatner Will Launch to Space on Next Blue Origin Flight

He’s boldly going the place Jeff Bezos has gone earlier than.

William Shatner, identified greatest from his years as the united statesS. Enterprise’s Captain James T. Kirk within the “Star Trek” TV and movie sequence, will launch to the sting of house this month aboard New Shepard. That’s the vacationer rocket constructed by Blue Origin, the personal house firm owned by Jeff Bezos, the founding father of Amazon.

“So now I can say one thing. Sure, it’s true; I’m going to be a ‘rocket man!’,” Mr. Shatner wrote on Twitter in regards to the information.

The flight is scheduled for Oct. 12, and Mr. Shatner shall be joined by two different paying prospects: Chris Boshuizen, a co-founder of the satellite tv for pc imagery agency Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, a co-founder of the medical analysis software program Medidata. The mission’s fourth passenger shall be Audrey Powers, a Blue Origin vp.

The corporate launched its first crew of passengers to house in July. The crew for that mission included Mr. Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, Wally Funk, 82, a pilot who was denied an opportunity to grow to be an astronaut within the Nineteen Sixties due to her intercourse, and an 18-year-old Dutch scholar. Ms. Funk, 82, presently holds the file as oldest passenger to house.

From Blue Origin’s pad in West Texas, the 16-story-tall rocket will launch to an altitude of roughly 63 miles and launch its gumdrop-shaped crew capsule. Passengers expertise about 4 minutes of weightlessness in microgravity. The New Shepard booster will return to Earth for a vertical touchdown just a few miles from the place it launched, whereas the crew capsule will fall again minutes later beneath a set of parachutes.

The flight won’t attain orbit, which requires a way more highly effective rocket lifting a spacecraft to a a lot increased altitude.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard car is the centerpiece of its house tourism enterprise, and Mr. Bezos has stated it has over $100 million value of tickets booked already. The corporate hasn’t disclosed ticket costs, reserving the seats privately as an alternative. Virgin Galactic, the corporate’s rival in house tourism, sells seats aboard its suborbital house aircraft beginning at $450,000.

The mission will come throughout a busy time for Blue Origin. Final week, 21 present and former staff said in an essay that the company was rife with sexism and dismissive of staff who spoke up on problems with security regarding the New Shepard rocket. Blue Origin disputed the allegations, saying the corporate had an inside hotline for sexual harassment complaints and that New Shepard was the “most secure house car ever designed or constructed.”

Mr. de Vries, one of many passengers who will be part of Mr. Shatner atop New Shepard, stated final week that he wasn’t apprehensive in regards to the contents of the essay. “I’m assured in Blue Origin’s security program, spacecraft, and monitor file, and positively wouldn’t be flying with them if I wasn’t,” he stated final week.

The corporate has different challenges, together with sparring with NASA in federal court docket after dropping a serious contract to SpaceX, the corporate based by Elon Musk, to construct a lander to return astronauts to the moon. Improvement of an engine that can energy larger rockets, together with one which was constructed by the Boeing-Lockheed Martin enterprise United Launch Alliance, is roughly a yr delayed.

New Shepard is one in all a handful of spacecraft providing rides to house for rich passengers within the rising house tourism business. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, developed primarily to fly authorities astronauts to the Worldwide Space Station, flew its first personal crew of vacationers in September and has extra personal missions lined up for subsequent yr. Virgin Galactic, which flew its founder, Richard Branson, and different passengers to house in July, plans to open its business house tourism enterprise subsequent yr, chipping away at a backlog of some 600 ticket holders. Its subsequent flight, with Italian Air Drive officers and researchers aboard, is predicted to happen this month.

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