New Shepard crew portrait
Future suborbital spacefliers Audrey Powers, William Shatner, Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries pose in entrance of Blue Origin’s New Shepard spaceship. (Blue Origin Picture through Instagram)

Star Trek captain William Shatner’s scheduled suborbital house journey is bringing a renewed flood of consideration to Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin house enterprise — however like a movie reboot, the storyline is extra advanced the second time round.

Three months after Bezos took a seat on his company’s first-ever crewed spaceflight, Shatner’s superstar is sparking a string of feel-good interviews, along with his three fellow fliers enjoying supporting roles. Tech entrepreneurs Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries are paying undisclosed fares. Like Shatner, Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice chairman for New Shepard mission and flight operations, is flying totally free.

The foursome are scheduled to raise off from Launch Website One in West Texas at 8: 30 a.m. CT (6: 30 a.m. PT) Wednesday, aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital spaceship. They’re within the midst of a few days of pre-launch coaching, documented on this morning’s community information reveals.

A lot of the interviews touched upon the one-day delay in the flight as a result of a forecast of unacceptable winds for Tuesday, however during the CBS interview, Shatner additionally volunteered a shout-out to Bezos’ long-term vision of having millions of people living and working in space.

“Jeff Bezos’ idea of doing all that is to construct trade, properties, to stay in shut reference to Earth and performance near Earth,” Shatner stated on CBS. “And that’s a imaginative and prescient that I feel may be very sensible and price getting behind.”

This week’s scheduled flight is only one small step towards Bezos’ imaginative and prescient: Like the primary crewed flight in July, it’ll contain going as much as a top past the 100-kilometer (62-mile) house boundary for a couple of minutes of weightlessness and a picture-window view of the curving Earth beneath the black sky of house.

The journey is because of final about 10 minutes, ending with the autonomous touchdown of the rocket booster and the parachute-aided landing of the crew capsule. Shatner, who at 90 is in line to turn out to be the world’s oldest spaceflier, should endure a number of G’s of acceleration. However the expertise is way much less intense than, say, the three-day orbital flight that billionaire Jared Isaacman and his three crewmates took in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule final month.

Shatner’s stardom — and the truth that his suborbital house journey is coming courtesy of the world’s richest particular person — are among the many components which have introduced this week’s flight out of the area of house developments and into the media mainstream. The occasion has additionally introduced Jeff Bezos (and his companion Lauren Sanchez) extra deeply into the social media mainstream as properly:

I’m sport.

— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) October 11, 2021

On the similar time, the recent wave of consideration serves to spotlight the challenges that Blue Origin is facing on other fronts.

A few of these challenges have been identified when Bezos flew in July: the delays in creating the next-generation BE-4 rocket engine and the orbital-class New Glenn rocket, plus the failure to win continued NASA funding for a lunar landing system. However since July, Blue Origin has additionally needed to cope with allegations of sexual harassment and questions about flight safety.

Throughout a CNN interview, Powers particularly addressed the protection query. “We’ve very methodically moved to those human flights that we’ve simply began just lately, and security has at all times been … our prime precedence,” she stated.

A newly published Washington Post report expands upon claims that Blue Origin’s managers fostered an “authoritarian bro tradition” — and cites considerations about “an absence of intervention from Bezos.” There are additionally reviews that Bezos is devoting more time and attention to the situation at Blue Origin now that he’s stepped down from his position as Amazon’s CEO.

Competitors with SpaceX, which has had way more success on the house frontier, is claimed to be one of many motivating components for Bezos. “He’s tremendous jealous of SpaceX,” the Submit quoted an unnamed trade official as saying.

Bezos obliquely addressed the controversy in one of his latest tweets, which featured a screenshot of a 1999 Barron’s journal cowl skewering “Amazon.Bomb” at a time when the corporate’s adjusted share worth was ranging between $40 and $100. (Present share worth, on an adjusted foundation, is in extra of $3,200.)

“Hear and be open, however don’t let anyone inform you who you might be,” Bezos tweeted. “This was simply one of many many tales telling us all of the methods we have been going to fail.”

Hear and be open, however don’t let anyone inform you who you might be. This was simply one of many many tales telling us all of the methods we have been going to fail. At the moment, Amazon is among the world’s most profitable firms and has revolutionized two totally completely different industries.

— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) October 11, 2021

In reply, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted a single emoji: a second-place medal.

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