The rocket with the module left the Blue Origin launch pad near the town of Van Horn in west Texas at 09:50 local time (16:50 CEST). The flight lasted about ten minutes and all its phases went according to plan.
Three minutes after launch, the module separated from the rocket and climbed to a height of 106 kilometers. Meanwhile, New Shepard landed vertically at the designated location, and shortly thereafter, the human module returned safely to the ground about three kilometers from the launch site.
“This experience is something incredible,” Shatner said after stepping out of the module after landing. “I can’t get out of it, I don’t want to lose that feeling,” said the actor visibly moved from the flight.
The launch was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was postponed until today due to the weather. Even on Wednesday, the start was postponed several times, but the company did not specify the reason.
This was Blue Origin’s second expedition on the border of space with tourists. There was no professional astronaut in the crew this time either. The First Step module is fully automated and no professional staff is needed on board for the flight up, descent or landing.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket carried three other astronauts in addition to Shatner, who became famous for his role as Captain James Tiberius Kirk. These are Audrey Powers, Blue Origin Manager, Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and founder of Planet Labs, an Earth satellite imagery company, and Glen de Vries, CEO of Medidata Solutions, a clinical research firm.
Captain Kirk in space
A successful flight makes 90-year-old Shatner the oldest man to look into space.
It was only the second attempt at flight with the crew of the missile system. He flew into space for the first time in July this year, taking Bezos, the 57-year-old founder of Amazon and the world’s richest man, his brother Mark, and two other passengers, 107 kilometers into space.
Bezos called the flight “the best day of his life,” despite being overtaken nine days by British billionaire Richard Branson. He reached the edge of space aboard the VSS Unity company Virgin Galactic. Both entrepreneurs are vying with the third wealthy businessman, Elon Musek from SpaceX, to offer regular trips off the planet for passengers paying fares.
It is Bezos’s flight that has held the oldest person’s flight so far, 82-year-old Wally Funk. According to Shatner, he was looking forward to overcoming it. He told the media that he was not afraid of the flight and that he expected that the most difficult part of the flight would be sitting in a chair: “If you are not really flexible, getting in and out of the seats is quite a chore.”
Among the private companies capable of transporting astronauts into space, SpaceX is the most successful company so far. Its ships Dragon and Crew Dragon transport cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS).
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