His flight is scheduled to leave Blue Origin launch facilities in West Texas at 8:30 a.m. CT Wednesday, a 24-hour delay from the original schedule due to strong winds at the zone.
A cheerful ride aboard a Starfleet spacecraft will not be. Rather, the group will be set inside a capsule at the top of the 60-foot-tall New Shepard Blue Origin rocket, which will rise to about three times the speed of sound and reach more than 62 miles height before returning immediately to Earth. . From start to finish, the trip will take about 10 minutes.
It will mark the second that Blue Origin expects to launch many space cars, bringing wealthy customers and thrill seekers to the edge of space. Still, Bezos is a Star Trek vocal fan and Shatner will fly as a guest for free.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Is it safe?
Blue Origin has made more than a dozen unmanned test flights from New Shepard and Bezos decided to take on the first manned flight in July, in part to show that he is confident in his own life with Blue Origin technology. .
This Blue Origin flight will make Shatner the oldest person to have traveled into space, surpassing the record set a few months ago by 82-year-old Wally Funk, who was a former astronaut in practice but was previously denied. the opportunity to fly before her. joined Bezos on the July flight from New Shepard.
The Blue Origin website lists the following criteria for passengers:
- You must be over 18 years old.
- You should be between 5’0 “and 6’4” tall and weigh 110 to 223 pounds.
- You need to be fit enough to climb seven flights of stairs in a minute and a half
- You should be able to secure and disconnect a seat harness in less than 15 seconds, spend up to an hour and a half tied to the capsule with the hatch closed, and withstand up to 5.5G of force during the descent.
Still, space flight is intrinsically risky. To hit enough speed and power to defy gravity, rockets must use powerful, controlled explosions and complex technology that always carries some uncertainty.
“I’m really very apprehensive,” Shatner told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week. “Here is an element of chance.”
From a physiological perspective, however, Shatner’s age should not be a problem, according to Dorit Donoviel, executive director of the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH), a group of research led by Baylor College of Medicine in partnership with NASA.
“They were perfectly fine,” Donoviel said. “The only cause for concern when they did these studies (medical condition) was really anxiety and definitely claustrophobia.”
Blue Origin passengers can experience up to 5.5 G, which can also make breathing or hand and arm movement difficult. But they won’t have the stress of flying New Shepard, which is totally self-contained, so they can basically just sit there and wait for the most stressful parts of the trip.
One thing that is absolutely crucial to them, however, is getting back in their seats as soon as mission control warns passengers that the three-minute weightlessness of the capsule is about to end. As the spacecraft begins to fall back to Earth and the crushing forces return, passengers who are not tied to their seat and oriented to the proper position could endanger serious injury.
“If they face the [wrong] so that the g forces could draw all the blood from the head and go down to the feet, in which case the person would faint, ”Donoviel said.
Blue Origin did not respond to requests for comment on the security allegations. But the company has repeatedly stated that security is its top priority.
Powers, the vice president of Blue Origin who will fly Wednesday, also responded to security allegations in an interview with CNN’s Erica Hill on Monday, saying the reports did not pause him.
“I’ve been working at Blue on the new Shepard program specifically for the last eight years,” he said. “A team of very talented professionals and colleagues, some of the best I’ve worked with during my 20 years on human spaceflight, have committed to the safety of this program.”
What will happen?
When most people think of space flight, they think of an astronaut orbiting the Earth, floating in space, for at least a few days.
This is not what New Shepard passengers will do. In fact, if all goes well, it should be very similar to the Bezos flight in July.
They will go up and down again and they will do so in less time, about 10 minutes, than it takes most people to get to work.
Visually, the Blue Origin live stream will show the rocket and capsule sitting on a launch pad at Blue Origin’s private facility in Texas, near Van Horn, which is about 120 miles east. of El Paso.
The rocket, flying separately after being detached from the capsule carrying humans, will restart the engines and use its on-board computers to perform a vertical and punctual landing.
What does all this mean?
Blue Origin plans to use New Shepard to compete directly with British billionaire Richard Branson and his suborbital space tourism company, Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic tickets cost about $ 450,000, more than the average selling price of homes in the United States. Blue Origin has not publicly set a ticket price, although it recently sold one at auction for a whopping $ 28 million. Shatner will fly as a complementary guest, though Bezos said in July that the company has sold tickets worth about $ 100 million.
It is also unclear how much interest will be maintained by suborbital space tourism by the richest people in the world. But Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic also plan to pass on their technologies to other companies. In the case of Blue Origin, this includes the construction of a massive orbital rocket for the launch of military, scientific and commercial satellites and a lunar terrier. However, Blue Origin’s proposal to make a vehicle that would land the next humans on the moon was recently rejected by NASA and is now caught in a legal battle.
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