Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin is set to launch William Shatner, whom the actor played as Captain James T. Kirk and launched three others on a brief trip to the edge of space on Wednesday morning. .
This will be the company’s second mission with space tourists.
The launch of Shatner, whose character has scoured outer space aboard the USS Enterprise for years, could be a moment of symbolism for Blue Origin, one of the billionaire-backed space companies that is turning science into reality by embarking on a once rich adventure. Sounded like a legend. Seekers in space and beyond.
Today: Captain Kirk’s William Shatner is on the verge of exploding into space
“It looks like this fictional character, Captain Kirk, is very keen on going to space,” Shatner said in a promotional video posted by the company on Twitter. “So let’s go with it. Enjoy the ride.”
When is the launch and how can I watch it?
Liftoff is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. Eastern time, and Blue Origin will live stream the flight on its YouTube channel. The video will start about 90 minutes before the flight.
The launch was initially scheduled for Tuesday morning, but wind conditions in West Texas prompted Blue Origin to push the launch back 24 hours. If there are more strong winds on Wednesday, the company may choose to delay the flight by another 24 hours until Thursday.
Who are the passengers other than William Shatner?
Three other passengers will join Shatner on Wednesday’s flight:
–Audrey Powers, vice president of Blue Origin, which oversees New Shepard flight operations; Like Shatner, he didn’t have to pay for his seat.
–Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Planet Labs, a company that makes small satellites, also known as CubeSats, used by various customers to monitor Earth from orbit.
–Glenn de Vries, a chief executive and co-founder of Medidata Solutions, a company that created software for clinical trials.
Boshuizen and de Vries are the second and third paying passengers to fly on Blue Origin Flight. The first was 18-year-old Oliver Damon from the Netherlands. The company did not say how much any of these customers paid for their seat on the flight.
As ticket-buying customers, they are something like early investors in industry executives, hoping one day it will be cheap enough to take advantage of a wider swath of the public.
What will happen during the flight?
The entire mission lasts about 10 minutes. The New Shepard launches at an altitude of about 63 miles, which is where space begins and is known as the Carman Line.
At peak altitude, the booster rocket, about six storeys high, leaves the capsule where the crew sits. The booster then begins a descent toward the ground, reigniting its single engine to descend 5 miles vertically onto a slab of concrete from where it was launched.
Back in space at the same time, the crew capsule is suspended in free fall. Passengers experience about four minutes of weightlessness in microgravity as well as views of Earth’s slightly curved horizon where its atmosphere meets space. Each seat has its own window of 3.5 feet by 2.3 feet.
“I’m thrilled and worried, and a little nervous and a little scared, about this whole new adventure,” Shatner said Monday during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show.
During the free fall of the capsule on the land side, it deploys an initial set of parachutes to halt its motion, then another of three large parachutes to propel the capsule at about 15 mph. set.
What is the uproar at Blue Origin?
In September, Alexandra Abrams, former head of employee communications at Blue Origin, published an essay with 20 unnamed current and former employees of Blue Origin, stating that the company’s work culture was full of sexism and that internal security concerns were often raised. was rejected by the management.
Since publishing the essay, Abrams said in an interview that he has received helpful messages from current Blue Origin employees and engineers. She said she has also heard from employees of other companies about their workplace difficulties. That reaction surprised him, as he expected attacks from others in the small aerospace industry. “I was personally very happy to see the reactions from everyone except Blue Origin,” Abrams said.
Blue Origin disputed the allegations in the essay, saying in a statement that the company has an internal hotline for sexual harassment complaints and that the New Shepard was “the safest space vehicle ever designed or built.” The company also said that Abrams was fired over “repeated warnings for issues involving federal export control regulations.”
Abrams said this was false, and she was fired in 2019 over disagreements with a new policy to help her rollout to prevent workers from banding together to take legal action on workplace issues. and they were forced to settle disputes in private arbitration. company.