Blue Origin launched their second human spaceflight today, marking the fifth New Shepard launch this year. On this flight of New Shepard, it carried a very special guest.
Onboard the rocket for Wednesday’s launch was Star Trek star William Shatner, who played the original Captain Kirk in the early tv show and movies. Along with Shatner are three other crew members: two paying customers, Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries, and a representative from Blue Origin, Audrey Powers.
At 90 years old, Shatner is now the oldest person to go to space. He passes Wally Funk, who launched on Blue Origin’s first human flight back in July.
The launch of the New Shepard marked its 18th successful flight. Taking its crew to just over 100 km for their quick stay in space and flight in zero-g. During the countdown, there were two rather lengthy holds, we saw something similar during NS-16. It seems like according to a post-launch conversation between Jeff Bezos and Shatner, one of the two holds sounded like it was due to an engine anomaly. Blue Origin has not commented on what caused the holds.
After launch, the booster touched down softly on its landing pad for another perfect landing. In total, the flight took just over 10 minutes. The capsule, named RSS First Step, landed in a field nearby using parachutes.
In total, Blue Origin has launched eight people to space; two earning the title of oldest and one the title of youngest to go to space. After the launch, William Shatner opened up to Jeff Bezos about his experience flying to space saying, “What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened.”
Emphasis on saftey in the live stream
During the first 30 minutes of the live stream, the hosts emphasized how safe their system is – even speaking with their safety director for the New Shepard program. This is presumably due to an open letter written by former and current Blue Origin employees stating their concerns for its workplace environment leading to an unsafe rocket.
Next Blue Origin launch
Blue Origin has not announced formal details of the next launch, but there is time left in the year for another flight. If we get another flight this year, it will most likely be sometime in December, and it could be another crewed New Shepard.
Featured Image: Blue Origin
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