Billionaire U.S. businessman Jeff Bezos’s company Blue Origin is set for its second suborbital tourism flight on Wednesday (October 12), with actor William Shatner – who embodied the promise of space travel on the “Star Trek” TV series and films – among the four-person all-civilian crew poised to blast off in Texas.
Shatner, at age 90, is due to become the oldest person ever in space. He and his crewmates are scheduled for a 9:30 a.m. (1030 EDT/1430 GMT) takeoff aboard the white 60-foot-tall (18.3 meters-tall) fully autonomous New Shepard spacecraft at Blue Origin’s launch site about 20 miles (32 km) outside the rural west Texas town of Van Horn.
The four crew members, all wearing blue flight suits with the company’s name in white letters on one sleeve, climbed into a vehicle with Bezos at the wheel to take them to the launch pad ahead of the scheduled liftoff time after a bit of a delay.
Winds were light and skies were clear ahead of launch time.
Joining Shatner for what the company said is expected to be a roughly 11-minute journey are former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, clinical research entrepreneur Glen de Vries and Blue Origin vice president and engineer Audrey Powers.
Blue Origin said the astronauts will experience about three to four minutes of weightlessness and travel above the internationally recognized boundary of space known as the Karman Line, about 62 miles (100 km) above Earth. The crew capsule is due to return to the Texas desert under parachutes.
The flight, previously scheduled for Tuesday, was pushed back a day for wind-related reasons.
(Production: Kia Johnson)