Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin is set to launch William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek, and three others on a short journey to the edge of space on Wednesday morning.
This will be the company’s second mission with space tourists on board.
The launch of Mr. Shatner, whose character has traversed outer space at USS Enterprise for years, could be a moment of symbolism for Blue Origin, one of a handful of billionaire-backed space companies fighting to bring what once seemed like science fiction to life. wealthy adventurers into space and beyond.
“There seems to be a lot of curiosity about this fictional character, Captain Kirk, going into space,” Mr. Shatner said in a promotional video posted by the company on Twitter. “So let’s agree with that. Enjoy the ride. “
When is the launch and how to watch it?
Scheduled to kick off Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET, Blue Origin will be streaming the flight live on its YouTube channel. The video will start approximately 90 minutes before the flight.
The launch was originally scheduled for Tuesday morning, but windy weather conditions over West Texas prompted Blue Origin to delay the launch by 24 hours. If there is a stronger wind on Wednesday, the company could postpone the flight for another 24 hours, until Thursday.
Who are the other passengers besides William Shatner?
Three other passengers will join Mr Shatner on Wednesday flight:
Audrey Powers, Vice President of Blue Origin, New Shepard Flight Operations; like Mr. Shatner, she didn’t have to pay for her seat.
Chris Boschuisen, co-founder of Planet Labs, a company that makes small satellites, also known as CubeSats, which are used by various clients to observe the Earth from orbit.
Glen de Vries, CEO and co-founder of Medidata Solutions, the company that created clinical trial software.
Dr. Boschuisin or Mr. de Vries are the second and third paying passengers on Blue Origin. The first was Oliver Daman, an 18-year-old man from the Netherlands. The company did not disclose how much any of these customers paid for their seats on the flights.
As customers buying tickets, they are a bit of a pioneer investor in the hopes of industry leaders that one day they will be cheap enough for a wider range of people.
What will happen during the flight?
The full mission lasts about 10 minutes. New Shepard is launched at an altitude of approximately 63 miles, the well-known origin of space and known as the Karman Line.
At maximum height, the launch vehicle, about six stories high, releases the capsule on which the crew sits. The booster then begins its descent back to the ground, re-launching its single engine to land vertically on a concrete slab five miles from the launch site.
At the same time, in space, the crew capsule is suspended in free fall. Passengers experience roughly four minutes of weightlessness in microgravity, as well as a view of the slightly curved horizon of the Earth, where its atmosphere meets space. Each seat has its own 3.5 ‘by 2.3’ window.
“I’m thrilled and anxious, a little nervous and a little scared of this new adventure,” Shatner said in an interview with NBC Today on Monday.
During the free fall of the capsule to the ground, she deploys the first set of parachutes to slow down, then another set of three larger parachutes to gently carry the capsule and land at about 15 miles per hour.
What is Blue Origin Clutter?
In September, Alexandra Abrams, the former head of Blue Origin employee relations, published an essay with 20 unnamed current and former Blue Origin employees saying that the company’s work culture is rife with sexism and that internal security concerns were often ignored by management.
Following the publication of the essay, Ms Abrams said in an interview that she received messages of support from current Blue Origin employees and engineers. She said she also heard from employees of other companies talking about their difficulties in the workplace. This response surprised her as she anticipated attacks from other members of the small aerospace industry. “Personally, I was very pleased to see the feedback from everyone except Blue Origin,” said Ms Abrams.
Blue Origin challenged the allegations in the essay, saying the company had an internal hotline for sexual harassment complaints and that New Shepard was “the safest spacecraft ever designed or built.” The company also said that Ms Abrams was fired due to “repeated warnings about issues related to federal export control regulations.”
Ms Abrams said this was not true and that she was fired in 2019 for disagreeing with a new policy that asked her to help roll out to prevent workers from joining together to take legal action on workplace issues and force them to private dispute resolution. arbitration with the company.