Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin is set to launch William Shatner, the actor best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk in the original “Star Trek”, and three more for a brief trip to the edge of space Wednesday morning.
This will be the company’s second mission with space tourists on board.
The launch of Mr. Shatner, whose character has roamed space in the USS Enterprise for years, could be a symbolic moment for Blue Origin, one of the few billionaire-backed space companies vying to make this happen. that once seemed like sci-fi a reality by launching wealthy adventurers into space and beyond.
“It looks like there is a lot of curiosity in this fictional character Captain Kirk going into space,” Shatner said in a promotional video posted on Twitter by the company. ” So let’s go. Enjoy the ride. “
When is the launch and how can I watch it?
Take-off is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST, and Blue Origin will be broadcasting 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 conditions over West Texas prompted Blue Origin to postpone the launch for 24 hours. If stronger winds arise on Wednesday, the company could choose to delay the flight an additional 24 hours, until Thursday.
Who are the passengers other than William Shatner?
Three other passengers will join Mr Shatner on Wednesday’s flight:
Audrey Powers, vice president of Blue Origin who oversees New Shepard flight operations; like Mr. Shatner, she did not have to pay for her seat.
Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Planet Labs, a company that builds small satellites, also known as CubeSats, which are used by various customers to monitor the Earth from orbit.
Glen de Vries, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Medidata Solutions, a company that has designed software for clinical trials.
Dr. Boshuizen or Mr. de Vries are the second and third paying passengers to travel on a Blue Origin flight. The first was Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old Dutchman. The company did not say how much those customers paid for their seats on the flights.
As ticket-buying customers, they’re much like the first investors in an industry that executives hope one day cheap enough for a wider audience to enjoy.
What will happen during the flight?
The complete mission takes about 10 minutes. New Shepard is launched at an altitude of about 63 miles, a widely recognized marker of where space begins and known as the Kármán Line.
At maximum altitude, the booster rocket, about six stories high, releases the capsule where the crew is located. The thruster then begins a descent towards the ground, re-igniting its single engine to land vertically on a concrete slab five miles from where it was launched.
Back in space at the same time, the crew capsule is suspended in free fall. Passengers experience approximately four minutes of weightlessness in microgravity as well as views of the slightly curved horizon of Earth where its atmosphere meets space. Each seat has its own 3.5ft by 2.3ft window.
“I’m thrilled and anxious, and a little nervous and a little scared, about this brand new adventure,” Shatner said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show Monday.
During the capsule’s free fall to earth, it deploys a first set of parachutes to brake its speed, then another set of three larger parachutes to transport the capsule smoothly to the landing about 15 miles away. ‘time.
What is the turmoil at Blue Origin?
In September, Alexandra Abrams, former employee communications manager at Blue Origin, published an essay with 20 current and former Blue Origin employees, claiming that the company’s work culture was plagued by sexism and that Internal security concerns were often dismissed by management.
Since the essay’s publication, Ms Abrams said in an interview that she had received messages of support from current Blue Origin employees and engineers. She said she had also heard employees from other companies describe their difficulties at work. This response surprised her, as she had expected a wave of attacks from other players in the small aerospace industry. “Personally, I was very encouraged to see the responses from everyone except Blue Origin,” Ms. Abrams said.
Blue Origin disputed the trial’s claims, saying in a statement that the company had an internal hotline for sexual harassment complaints and that New Shepard was the “safest space vehicle ever designed or built.” The company also said Ms Abrams was fired for “repeated warnings about problems with federal export control regulations.”
Ms Abrams said this was false and that she was fired in 2019 because of her disagreement with a new policy she was asked to help put in place to ban workers from regrouping to hire workers. prosecute workplace issues and force them to resolve disputes in private. arbitration with the company.