Science & Nature

William Shatner’s area launch on Blue Origin’s New Shepard: When to look at and what to know

Blue Origin’s subsequent crewed area mission will see a “Star Trek” captain discover the unusual new world of area for actual.

On Oct. 12, the corporate’s second crewed flight on its New Shepard spacecraft after flying founder Jeff Bezos in July will embody starring passenger William Shatner, an actor greatest recognized for portraying Captain James T. Kirk within the iconic sci-fi franchise “Star Trek.”

The mission, known as NS-18, additionally features a senior Blue Origin worker and two co-founders of space-related know-how firms. Launch time for New Shepard is about for 8:30 a.m. native time (9:30 a.m. EDT or 13:30 GMT) from the corporate’s Launch Site One close to Van Horn, Texas.

What time is Blue Origin’s launch and may I watch?

The launch of New Shepard’s second crewed flight can be broadcast Tuesday (Oct. 12) with a possible begin time of 8 a.m. EDT (12 GMT) at BlueOrigin.com and right here at Space.com, if doable. Liftoff is anticipated at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT), however may change relying on climate or technical issues.

A typical New Shepard flight lasts 11 minutes. After the touchdown, based mostly on what occurred with the Bezos crew in July, a stay broadcast with the astronauts will probably be out there at BlueOrigin.com. If that occurs, Blue Origin will probably stream it on-line and Space.com will simulcast it if doable. The firm may even probably share mission updates all day by way of @BlueOrigin on Twitter.

A standard New Shepard flight sees the spacecraft fly nicely above the 62-mile (100 kilometers) Okármán line that worldwide authorities acknowledge because the boundary of area. (Competitor Virgin Galactic doesn’t, which has sparked sparring among the many two firms.) The rocket will come again to its launch web site autonomously and land, and the crew capsule will descend a couple of minutes later below a parachute.

Who is Blue Origin launching on New Shepard?

Image 1 of three

Actor William Shatner (left) and Blue Origin Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations Audrey Powers (right) will fly on Blue Origin's New Shepard NS-18 mission, on Oct. 12, 2021.

Actor William Shatner (left) and Blue Origin Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations Audrey Powers (proper) will fly on Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-18 mission, on Oct. 12, 2021. (Image credit score: Blue Origin)

Image 2 of three

Chris Boshuizen (left) and Glen de Vries (right) are two of the four space tourists scheduled to fly on Blue Origin's second crewed flight on Oct. 12. 2021

Chris Boshuizen (left) and Glen de Vries (proper) are two of the 4 area vacationers scheduled to fly on Blue Origin’s second crewed flight on Oct. 12. 2021 (Image credit score: Blue Origin)

Image 3 of three

Blue Origin Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations Audrey Powers

Blue Origin Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations Audrey Powers (Image credit score: Blue Origin)

REPLACE THIS WITH 16×9 pictures of the crew

New Shepard’s second  crewed flight will carry 4 passengers, however no pilot because the area capsule is an automatic system. The crew will embody:

William Shatner, 90, an actor greatest recognized for taking part in Captain James T. Kirk in “Star Trek” and Denny Crane on each “Boston Legal” and “The Practice.” Shatner is anticipated to be the oldest individual to fly in suborbital area, beating the document set by 82-year-old Wally Funk (an aviator and Mercury 13 member) throughout Blue Origin’s July flight. (The oldest individual to achieve orbit was NASA astronaut John Glenn, at age 77, again in 1998; Glenn got here out of retirement to affix an aging-focused shuttle mission.)

Related: William Shatner’s age will make him the oldest individual to fly in area

Audrey Powers, age not disclosed, is Blue Origin’s vice-president of mission and flight operations who oversees New Shepard flight operations, car upkeep and mission infrastructure. She performed a key position in certifying New Shepard for flight and is probably going flying in her official firm capability. Powers was Blue Origin’s deputy normal counsel and vice-president of authorized and compliance, and a NASA mission controller for the International Space Station program. She is a pilot and is the chair of the board of administrators for the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

Chris Boshuizen, age not disclosed, is co-founder of Earth remark firm Planet Labs (at the moment known as Planet). Between 2008 and 2012, he was an area mission architect at NASA’s Ames Research Center and co-invented a small satellite tv for pc generally known as the NASA Phonesat. He additionally established Singularity University and was the primary government director of the Space Generation Advisory Council.

Glen de Vries, reportedly about 49 years outdated, is vice chair for all times sciences and healthcare at French software program firm Dassault Systèmes. In 2019, Dassault acquired the 20-year-old firm de Vries based, known as Medidata Solutions. The software program platform he constructed has been used for greater than 25,000 medical trials.

What is Blue Origin’s mission for the flight?

The flight profile of Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital vehicle.

The flight profile of Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital car. (Image credit score: Blue Origin)

New Shepard has carried out 17 flights previous to Shatner’s flight, which is known as NS-18. Most of these earlier efforts had been uncrewed assessments or payload analysis flights. The most up-to-date flight was on Aug. 26, when New Shepard despatched a payload-focused mission to suborbital area together with a NASA lunar touchdown know-how demonstration.

The spacecraft’s solely human spaceflight to this point launched on July 20, when it flew founder Jeff Bezos, Bezos’ brother Mark, Mercury 13 aviator Wally Funk and 18-year-old scholar Oliver Daemen (son of a hedge fund supervisor) to suborbital area.

New Shepard is known as after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, who was the primary American to go to area in 1961. It is about 60 ft (18 meters) tall and passengers aboard its suborbital flights expertise “weightlessness” for about three minutes. Blue Origin has not but disclosed seat pricing to the general public; competitor Virgin Galactic now sells seats for $450,000 apiece.

Infographic: How Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket works

For your cash, the spaceflight is comparatively transient, lasting 11 minutes from launch to touchdown. The rocket comes again autonomously to the launch pad and is aerodynamically stabilized utilizing a hoop and wedge fins. The crew members descend individually beneath the capsule’s parachute.

While New Shepard has solely flown at most 4 individuals at a time, its most capability is six individuals and Blue Origin cites the spacecraft’s “massive, stunning home windows” as a advertising software to draw the super-rich. The firm additionally plans to usher in paying firms who search utilizing microgravity for advances in science.

What will Blue Origin astronauts expertise?

The Bezos-led crew in July solely obtained 14 hours of coaching over a number of days to study primary flight and emergency procedures for the autonomous spacecraft. The crew additionally didn’t put on spacesuits, as a substitute carrying blue jumpsuits with Blue Origin livery.

Footage of the flight confirmed the crew stress-free in the course of the launch and touchdown, which was monitored by Blue Origin personnel on the bottom, and floating within the capsule in the course of the weightless part exclaiming enthusiastically concerning the view.

When Blue Origin first auctioned seats in early 2021, it had a phrases and circumstances doc for flight crews reminiscent of requiring spaceflyers to decorate themselves in a flight swimsuit and to ascend the launch tower (seven flights of stairs) in lower than 90 seconds. Funk, age 82, swiftly led that first crew up the steps.

The view from a seat on Blue Origin's New Shepard Spacecraft First Step during a suborbital test flight on April 14, 2021.

The view from a seat on Blue Origin’s New Shepard Spacecraft First Step throughout a suborbital check flight on April 14, 2021. (Image credit score: Blue Origin)

While the corporate emphasizes the view and the autonomous expertise, like all spaceflights the New Shepard flight is a high-risk exercise. Passengers face a number of forces of gravity, or G-loads, throughout launch and touchdown. They are skilled to unstrap themselves inside 15 seconds in case of emergency. 

On Sept. 30, 21 Blue Origin workers (all however one nameless) penned an essay with scathing criticisms concerning the firm’s tradition and security practices, saying amongst different points that the corporate was speeding the launch course of to get paying passengers to suborbital flight. To date, New Shepard has flown 17 instances since 2015. Blue Origin has efficiently recovered each capsule and booster on all however one try as a consequence of a hydraulics challenge on the the primary flight, NS1, in April 2015 that prevented the booster from touchdown as deliberate.

Blue Origin makes use of its RSS First Step (RSS is brief for Reusable Space Ship) for crewed flights. A special New Shepard capsule, known as RSS H.G. Wells, is used for uncrewed science flights.

Where does Blue Origin launch New Shepard from?

Blue Origin’s launching services are known as Launch Site One, a distant space within the West Texas desert roughly 25 miles from the city of Van Horn. During the final crewed launch in July, Blue Origin extremely restricted the desert space across the launch web site, even alongside close by State Highway 54, so it’s unlikely it is possible for you to to get anyplace near the location except you might be on the media listing (which was very restricted in the course of the Bezos launch.)

You can view the services in a brief tour video Blue Origin beforehand launched. All paying clients do have the possibility to go to the spacecraft and to study concerning the close by help services, in response to the video, earlier than their launch to suborbital area.

When may I launch to area with Blue Origin?

Blue Origin's New Shepard Spacecraft First Step launches on a suborbital spaceflight from West Texas on April 14, 2021.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard Spacecraft First Step launches on a suborbital spaceflight from West Texas on April 14, 2021. (Image credit score: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin has a spot on its web site the place you possibly can reserve your curiosity for future flights, though we do not know the way typically it plans to launch or how a lot a seat prices. “You’ll obtain early entry to pricing data and tickets once we open reservations,” the corporate has promised. 

There is probably going a backlog of high-profile passengers and Blue Origin workers that can fly earlier than the general public does. For instance, an undisclosed particular person gained a $28 million seat public sale for the primary flight with Bezos, however turned it down as a consequence of lack of availability and Daemen (whose father had a runner-up bid on behalf of his son) was named as a alternative. We nonetheless do not know who that particular person was and if they’ve rebooked for one more flight.

Virgin Galactic flights retail now for $450,000 apiece and in early October, stratospheric balloon flight supplier World View mentioned it could begin flying clients for $50,000 a seat in 2024, if the schedule holds. World View doesn’t attain area, however is excessive sufficient within the ambiance to see the curvature of Earth.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

Elizabeth Howell


Elizabeth Howell is an everyday contributor to Live Science and Space.com, together with a number of different science publications. She is certainly one of a handful of Canadian reporters who makes a speciality of area reporting. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Journalism, Science Concentration at Carleton University (Canada) and an M.Sc. Space Studies (distance) on the University of North Dakota. Elizabeth grew to become a full-time freelancer after incomes her M.Sc. in 2012. She reported on three area shuttle launches in individual and as soon as spent two weeks in an remoted Utah facility pretending to be a Martian.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button