Monday, October 18, 2021

Landing! The Blue Origin rocket, carrying William Shatner, explodes in space and lands safely

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The Star Trek actor, famous for playing starship Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk, blasted off into space at 10:50 a.m. Eastern time, aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, along with microbiologist Glen de Vries, Planet Labs founder Chris Boshuizen and Blue Origin’s Audrey Powers. The mission, officially designated NS-18, took off a little later than originally predicted, and made Shatner, who turned 90 in March, the oldest human being to venture to space — or at least, just over the edge of it in a sub-orbital flight.

The flight was delayed for nearly an hour but went off apparently flawlessly, lasting ten minutes from liftoff to the touchdown of the capsule in the West Texas desert.  All four astronauts hugged Blue Origin boss Jeff Bezos after their safe landing. Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Shatner’s feat surpassed a record set by 82-year-old astronaut Wally Funk, who blasted off on the New Shepard in July.

Shatner was the third crew member to board the capsule with his fellow crew members, each of whom rang a ceremonial bell on a tower platform before boarding. New Shepherd‘s capsule ascended to just past the Karman Line, which is the officially recognized point where Earth’s atmosphere ends and what is considered to be space begins.  The imaginary line is located 62 miles, or 330,000 feet, above the Earth’s surface.

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