Beam me up, Jeffrey!
Blue Origin has launched William Shatner, best known as the actor who played Captain Kirk in the “Star Trek” franchise, to an altitude of 66.5 miles.
Shatner was joined by biotech entrepreneur Glen de Vries, Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations Audrey Powers, and Australian physicist and engineer Chris Boshuizern.
“That was unlike anything they described,” Shatner could be heard saying while gliding back down the surface — despite having “gone where no man has gone before” as an actor.
The news comes after several reports revealed distressing work conditions faced by Blue Origin’s employees, including allegations of sexual harassment, rampant sexism, and ineffective micromanaging practices.
An essay signed by 21 current and former employees published late last month also claimed that Blue Origin teams were “stretched beyond reasonable limits,” leading to compromises in flight safety of the company’s New Shepard spacecraft.
Today’s launch, however, went by without a hitch. It was the second crewed mission of the space company’s New Shepard spacecraft, a phallic capsule that can seat a maximum of six passengers.
The first mission saw Blue Origin co-founder Jeff Bezos launching to “space” in July.
Whether that really counts as space, though, is up for debate. The capsule did technically breach the Karman line, an arbitrarily boundary internationally recognized as the boundary between the atmosphere and space, but remained several hundred miles short of being able to reach a stable orbit.
Today’s passengers were able to enjoy several minutes of weightlessness, caused by the capsule falling back down towards the ground.
The New Shepard’s reusable booster managed to land in one piece, marking the fourth time it made the trip.
Despite the success, today’s launch comes at a troubling time for the space company. Will Bezos’ renewed commitment help right the ship for his space tourism business? Only time will tell.
READ MORE: New Shepard Mission NS-18 Webcast [Blue Origin]
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