Mr Bezos, who has said he was inspired by “Star Trek” as a boy, listened as an idol. He may be giving Mr. Shatner some space, but it was the stark contrast to his appearance when he was aboard the same spacecraft after his brief space flight in July. Then, Mr. Bezos went a step further, slamming critics of the giant company he founded, as he thanked Amazon employees and customers for making it possible to finance his private space venture.
Mr. Shatner shared the capsule with three other passengers on Wednesday: Audrey Powers, a Blue Origin vice president who oversees New Shepard operations, and two paying customers: Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Earth-observing company Planet Labs. , and Glenn de Vries, a company that makes software for clinical researchers.
On Wednesday morning the launch was pushed back by nearly an hour for the launch countdown – due to additional probes from the spacecraft and winds near its launchpad. The quartet were driven by electric pickup trucks to Blue Origin’s launchpad, about an hour before liftoff, between Mr Bezos and company employees.
For a moment, it appeared that Mr Bezos, wearing a flight suit similar to the one he wore in July, would join him in his flight into space. But he closed the hatch door before leaving the pad, sending the crew on their journey.
The rocket took off at 9:49 a.m. central time, accelerating as a speeding bullet at 2,235 mph and sending the crew to an altitude of about 65.8 miles. The entire journey lasted 10 minutes, 17 seconds and gave the four passengers about four minutes of weightlessness.
Speaking to reporters after the flight, Mr Boshuizen likened the crew’s entry into space to a rock hitting the surface of a lake. “I was trying to smile but my jaw was pushed back into my head,” he said.