Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight feat, is launching into space William Shatner, aka Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise, putting it aboard the New Shepard rocket of the company.
At 90, William Shatner will become the oldest person to fly into space, overtaking legendary aviator Wally Funk, who flew New Shepard’s first manned flight this summer.
The first to break the news that the actor would fly on the next New Shepard flight were those of TMZ, the flight is currently scheduled for October 12 from Blue Origin’s launch facility in West Texas, and the outlet said William Shatner’s flight will be filmed as part of a documentary.
Shatner will be joined by two other customers previously announced by Blue Origin: Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer who co-founded the small satellite company Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, co-founder of software company Medidata and vice president of Life sciences at Dassault Systèmes, a French software company.
Blue Origin also announced two days ago that Audrey Powers, the company’s vice president of mission and flight operations, will become the fourth passenger on the flight.
William Shatner’s flight on the New Shepard: is the rocket a guarantee now?
This will be the New Shepard’s second flight to take people to the edge of space and back, because Blue Origin is set to turn those of its suborbital rocket into regular commercial flights.
After many years of test flights, the vehicle took its first humans into space in July, a crew consisting of Funk, Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos and a Dutch teenager named Oliver Daemen, whose father paid an undisclosed sum for the ticket.
The New Shepard rocket is designed to be launched vertically from Earth, carrying up to four passengers in one capsule crew to the top, then ascends to an altitude of about 100 kilometers (62 miles) above Earth, where the planet’s thin atmosphere gives way to the vacuum of space.
While in the sky, the capsule and the rocket separate and the passengers inside feel a few brief minutes of zero gravity, after which both parts of the vehicle fall back to Earth; the rocket lands in a vertical position after re-igniting the main engine and the capsule lands under three main parachutes.
After all, the flight lasts about 11 minutes, from take-off to landing of the capsule.
William Shatner’s announcement as a crew member for the next flight comes just days after the current ed former Blue Origin employees issued a public essay relating to systemic sexual harassment and an unsafe work culture within the company.
The essay claimed that at least one senior executive had sexually assaulted employees before being fired for groping a female worker.
Employees also expressed concern about the safety of the New Shepard vehicle by Blue Origin, citing one a culture in which competition took priority over safety, in which workers feared retaliation for raising concerns.
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