A Blue Origin rocket flew again for a few minutes in space, with an iconic passenger of space conquest on board: William Shatner, who played the legendary Captain Kirk from the Star Trek series.
At 90 years old, He became the oldest person to reach space this Wednesday. This is the second flight with passengers on board completed by the company of billionaire Jeff Bezos, who made the first trip last July.
“I never imagined that, it’s beautiful, it’s soft, it’s pure blue, what you see below is light and what you see above is total darkness, it is the most profound experience I had, I do not think I can recover “, said Shatner before covering her face with her hands to start crying. On the other hand, Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin hugged him.
The images were broadcast live on the channel that the company has on YouTube. There, the small capsule could be seen landing in the middle of the Texas desert with its four crew members in perfect condition and after a trip that lasted 10 minutes and 18 seconds.
“Everything is so small, it is so impossible to measure how small it is”continued the actor, dressed in the blue suit of Blue Origin, with the account of what he could see from space. Around him, the rest of the crew and crew were yelling and uncorking champagne, but he kept trying to find the exact words to describe what he had just seen.
The New Shepard rocket, during lift-off. (AP)
The New Shepard rocket, fully automated and reusable, took off vertically for the fourth time. It consists of a launcher and a capsule with an ultra-modern design that detaches in flight.
Propelled in this way, it goes beyond the so-called Kármán Line, at an altitude of 100 kilometers, which marks the limit of space according to international convention. Passengers can separate from their seats and float for a few moments in zero gravity.
The capsule then fell back to Earth, braked by three parachutes and a rear thruster. The launcher turned aside to automatically land not far from its launch point.
The other passengers
The crew of the NS-18 mission. AP Photo
Total, the experience lasted just over 10 minutes. In addition to the Canadian actor, three other passengers were on board.
Chris Boshuizen is a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs, an American company that photographs the Earth in high resolution every day using satellites.
Glen de Vries is co-founder of Medidata Solutions, a company specialized in clinical trial monitoring software for the pharmaceutical industry.
And finally, Audrey Powers, manager of Blue Origin, particularly in charge of flight operations and rocket maintenance.
With Jeff Bezos, after landing. Photo: AFP
Less than three months after Jeff Bezos’ flight into space, this new takeoff clearly shows his company’s determination to establish itself in the coveted space tourism industry.
Bezos’s company is in furious competition with Virgin Galactic, which offers a similar experience in a few minutes. In July, British billionaire Richard Branson also flew into space. aboard a ship of the company he founded.
And for its part, in September, SpaceX (of Elon Musk) kept four space tourists during three days in orbit around the Earth, a much more ambitious (and expensive) mission.
“We are only at the beginning, but what a miraculous beginning and how amazing it is to be a part of it,” acknowledged William Shatner in the Blue Origin video.
Star Trek, a classic
Star Trek, broadcast from 1966 for only three seasons, recounted the adventures of the USS Enterprise, launched on an interstellar exploration mission.
Sci-fi enthusiasts, including Bezos, have turned it into a cult series. The Amazon founder even appeared in one of the series’ many spinoff movies, unrecognizable under alien makeup.
New Shepard, from the Blue Origin company, one of the firms that bets on space tourism.
“Captain Kirk, played by Shatner, is perhaps more than anyone ‘the last frontier’ for a couple of generations in America and the world,” said American screenwriter Marc Cushman.
The actor and his fictional character “were symbols of the growing interest of the nation – and the world – in space exploration,” he continued.
Long led by government agencies, this conquest of the space is now supported growing number of private companies. And William Shatner is part of that promotion.
With information from agencies.