Shatner breaks the age barrier, goes where no nonagenarian has gone before with Blue Origin rocket trip

Gives classic monologue upon landing

Four travelers successfully flew to the edge of space and back on Blue Origin’s second commercial spaceflight including William Shatner, making the 90-year-old Star Trek actor the oldest person to leave Earth yet.

The nonagenarian was joined by Audrey Powers, VP of Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight operations, Dr Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Earth-monitoring startup Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, vice-chair of life Sciences & Healthcare, at Dassault Systèmes.

Blue Origin’s capsule atop the New Shepard rocket launched near Van Horn, Texas, on Wednesday at 1449 UTC. The four-person crew was taken to the Kármán line, 100 kilometers or 330,000 feet above Earth’s mean sea level, a region where space officially begins. By 1459 UTC, they returned safely back on solid ground again. All in all, the journey only took about 10 minutes and 17 seconds.

Tech billionaire and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos welcomed the space tourists back when the capsule landed. Shatner was particularly moved by his experience. “Everybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world needs to see this," he told Bezos, choking up. “It was unbelievable.”

He recounted his thoughts he had during the journey. “To see the blue color whip by! Now you’re staring at a blackness...That’s the thing, the covering of blue...this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue we have around us...We say, oh that’s the blue sky and then you shoot through it all and then all of a whip off the sheet...and you’re looking at a blackness - into black ugliness.”

Shatner continued, pointing downwards: “And you look down, and there’s your blue down there. It’s just...there is mother Earth, comfort.” Then pointing upwards, referring to space “and there there death?” Bezos patted the actor’s back and nodded.

You can watch the replay of the flight and Shatner’s teary exchange with Bezos below (skip to 2:46:20).

Youtube Video

“This flight was another step forward in flying astronauts safely and often,” Blue Origin’s CEO Bob Smith said in a statement. “It’s an incredible team and we are just getting started.”

The company’s first commercial flight launched in July, earlier this year. Wally Funk, a member of the Mercury 13 group, Bezos brothers Jeff and Mark, and an 18-year-old student Oliver Daemen were the first group to test New Shepard’s flight capabilities. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • SpaceX Starlink sat streaks now present in nearly a fifth of all astronomical images snapped by Caltech telescope

    Annoying, maybe – but totally ruining science, no

    SpaceX’s Starlink satellites appear in about a fifth of all images snapped by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a camera attached to the Samuel Oschin Telescope in California, which is used by astronomers to study supernovae, gamma ray bursts, asteroids, and suchlike.

    A study led by Przemek Mróz, a former postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and now a researcher at the University of Warsaw in Poland, analysed the current and future effects of Starlink satellites on the ZTF. The telescope and camera are housed at the Palomar Observatory, which is operated by Caltech.

    The team of astronomers found 5,301 streaks leftover from the moving satellites in images taken by the instrument between November 2019 and September 2021, according to their paper on the subject, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters this week.

    Continue reading
  • AI tool finds hundreds of genes related to human motor neuron disease

    Breakthrough could lead to development of drugs to target illness

    A machine-learning algorithm has helped scientists find 690 human genes associated with a higher risk of developing motor neuron disease, according to research published in Cell this week.

    Neuronal cells in the central nervous system and brain break down and die in people with motor neuron disease, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, named after the baseball player who developed it. They lose control over their bodies, and as the disease progresses patients become completely paralyzed. There is currently no verified cure for ALS.

    Motor neuron disease typically affects people in old age and its causes are unknown. Johnathan Cooper-Knock, a clinical lecturer at the University of Sheffield in England and leader of Project MinE, an ambitious effort to perform whole genome sequencing of ALS, believes that understanding how genes affect cellular function could help scientists develop new drugs to treat the disease.

    Continue reading
  • Need to prioritize security bug patches? Don't forget to scan Twitter as well as use CVSS scores

    Exploit, vulnerability discussion online can offer useful signals

    Organizations looking to minimize exposure to exploitable software should scan Twitter for mentions of security bugs as well as use the Common Vulnerability Scoring System or CVSS, Kenna Security argues.

    Better still is prioritizing the repair of vulnerabilities for which exploit code is available, if that information is known.

    CVSS is a framework for rating the severity of software vulnerabilities (identified using CVE, or Common Vulnerability Enumeration, numbers), on a scale from 1 (least severe) to 10 (most severe). It's overseen by, a US-based, non-profit computer security organization.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022