Like Captain Kirk, William Shatner Will Travel to Space (Almost)

He’s boldly going where Jeff Bezos has gone before.

William Shatner, known best from his years as the united statesS. Enterprise’s Captain James T. Kirk within the “Star Trek” TV and film series, will launch to the sting of area this month aboard New Shepard. That is the vacationer rocket constructed by Blue Origin, the private area firm owned by Jeff Bezos, the founding father of Amazon.

“So now I can say something. Yes, it’s true; I’m going to be a ‘rocket man!’,” Mr. Shatner wrote on Twitter about the information.

The flight is scheduled for Oct. 12, and Mr. Shatner shall be joined by two different paying prospects: Chris Boshuizen, a co-founder of the satellite tv for pc imagery agency Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, a co-founder of the scientific analysis software program Medidata. The mission’s fourth passenger shall be Audrey Powers, a Blue Origin vice chairman.

The firm launched its first crew of passengers to area in July. The crew for that mission included Mr. Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, Wally Funk, 82, a pilot who was denied an opportunity to become an astronaut within the Nineteen Sixties due to her intercourse, and an 18-year-old Dutch pupil. Ms. Funk, 82, presently holds the file as oldest passenger to area.

From Blue Origin’s pad in West Texas, the 16-story-tall rocket will launch to an altitude of roughly 63 miles and launch its gumdrop-shaped crew capsule. Passengers experience about 4 minutes of weightlessness in microgravity. The New Shepard booster will return to Earth for a vertical touchdown a number of miles from where it launched, whereas the crew capsule will fall again minutes later below a set of parachutes.

The flight won’t attain orbit, which requires a much more highly effective rocket lifting a spacecraft to a much larger altitude.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard automobile is the centerpiece of its area tourism enterprise, and Mr. Bezos has said it has over $100 million price of tickets booked already. The firm hasn’t disclosed ticket costs, reserving the seats privately as a substitute. Virgin Galactic, the corporate’s rival in area tourism, sells seats aboard its suborbital area aircraft beginning at $450,000.

The mission will come during a busy time for Blue Origin. Last week, 21 present and former workers said in an essay that the corporate was rife with sexism and dismissive of workers who spoke up on issues of security regarding the New Shepard rocket. Blue Origin disputed the allegations, saying the corporate had an inner hotline for sexual harassment complaints and that New Shepard was the “safest space vehicle ever designed or built.”

Mr. de Vries, one of many passengers who will be a part of Mr. Shatner atop New Shepard, said last week that he wasn’t anxious about the contents of the essay. “I am confident in Blue Origin’s safety program, spacecraft, and track record, and certainly wouldn’t be flying with them if I wasn’t,” he said last week.

The firm has different challenges, together with sparring with NASA in federal court docket after dropping a significant contract to SpaceX, the corporate based by Elon Musk, to construct a lander to return astronauts to the moon. Development of an engine that may power larger rockets, together with one which was constructed by the Boeing-Lockheed Martin enterprise United Launch Alliance, is roughly a 12 months delayed.

New Shepard is one in every of a handful of spacecraft providing rides to area for rich passengers within the rising area tourism industry. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, developed primarily to fly authorities astronauts to the International Space Station, flew its first private crew of vacationers in September and has more private missions lined up for subsequent 12 months. Virgin Galactic, which flew its founder, Richard Branson, and different passengers to area in July, plans to open its business area tourism enterprise subsequent 12 months, chipping away at a backlog of some 600 ticket holders. Its subsequent flight, with Italian Air Force officers and researchers aboard, is predicted to happen this month.

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