© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Actor William Shatner performs at the Canyon Club in Agora, California, October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzoni
by Mike Blake
VAN HORN, Texas (Reuters) – Blue Origin, billionaire American entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, is set to make its second cruise on Wednesday, with actor William Shatner — who has epitomized the promise of space travel in the “Star Trek” TV series and movies — Among the crew of four, all civilians, about to set off in Texas.
Shatner, at 90, is set to become the oldest person ever in space. He and his colleagues are scheduled to blast off at 9:30 a.m. (1030 EDT / 1430 GMT) aboard the 60-foot (18.3 m) white New Shepard spacecraft, fully autonomous, at the Blue Origin launch site about 20 miles (32 km). ) outside the rural town of Van Horn in West Texas.
The four astronauts, all dressed in blue flight suits bearing the company’s name in white letters on one sleeve, climbed into the crew capsule atop the spacecraft and attached to it after climbing a flight of stairs accompanied by Bezos. All of them rang the bell before entering the capsule. Before that, they boarded a vehicle driven by Bezos to the launch pad after about a half-hour delay.
The wind was light and the sky was clear before the launch date.
Join Shatner for what the company said is expected to be an approximately 11-minute flight of former NASA engineer Chris Buchweizen, clinical research lead Glenn De Vries, Vice President and Engineer Audrey Powers of Blue Origin https://www.blueorigin.com/news/Shatner- Bowers-announce-n 18.
Blue Origin said the astronauts will experience about three to four minutes of weightlessness and will travel above the internationally recognized boundary of space known as the Karmann Line, about 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth. The crew capsule is scheduled to return to the Texas desert under parachutes.
The flight, previously scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed due to wind reasons https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/winds-delay-blue-origins-space-launch-with-shatner-2021-10-10.
The four crew members underwent training on Tuesday, and the mission team completed a flight readiness assessment to ensure “all systems are ready for launch,” Blue Origin said on Twitter (NYSE:).
Blue Origin had its first successful space tourism flight on July 20, with Bezos and three others on board, flew to the edge of space and back in a flight of 10 minutes and 10 seconds. On that flight, Pioneer Wally Funk https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/pioneering-female-aviator-wally-funk-is-americas-new-sweetheart-2021-07-20 at age 82 Become the largest person to reach space.
Bezos, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) founder and current CEO, founded Blue Origin two decades ago.
Shatner, who turned 90 in March, has been in business since the 1950s and is still busy with entertainment projects and fan conventions. He is best known for starring as Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise in the classic 1960s TV series “Star Trek” and seven subsequent films about fantasy adventures in outer space.
As an actor, Shatner has been synonymous with space flight. During the opening credits of each episode of the series, he called space the “Final Frontier” and promised to “explore strange new worlds, seek new life and new civilizations, and go boldly where no human has gone before.”
Shatner said there is a paradox and an analogy in his space journey, having played a space explorer for decades and is now actually one.
“Having played Captain Kirk…it gives me the knowledge a future astronaut might have, but I’ve always been occupied with curiosity,” Shatner said in the Blue Origin video.
Shatner’s participation in the flight has helped increase publicity for Blue Origin as it competes with two billionaire-backed rivals — Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holdings (NYSE:) Inc — to lure customers willing to pay big for a spaceflight experience.
Branson opened his space tourism service https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/virgin-galactics-branson-ready-space-launch-aboard-rocket-plane-2021-07-11 on July 11, passenger along Sub-orbital with six others aboard his VSS Unity rocket plane. SpaceX, which has launched several astronauts and cargo payloads to NASA’s International Space Station, has launched its space tourism business https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/spacex-capsule-with-worlds-first-all- civilian-orbital-crew-set-splashdown-2021-09-18 by flying the first all-civilian crew to reach Earth’s orbit on a three-day mission ending September 18.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said two weeks ago that it would review safety concerns raised by former and current Blue Origin employees who accused the company of prioritizing speed and cost savings https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/faa-Review-Concerns-Safety – Raised – Previous – Blue Origin – Employee – 09-30-2021 regarding quality control and appropriate recruitment.