Jeff Bezos-owned space company and aerospace manufacturer Blue Origin has successfully completed its second trip to space on its New Shepard spacecraft and has also made history for taking the oldest person to ever land in space, to space. The second space mission comes about three months after the first.
The crewed mission launched on Wednesday, October 13th and had William Shanter from Sci-fi movie series ‘Start Trek’; Blue Origin’s Vice President of New Shepard Operations Audrey Powers; Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of satellite imagery company Planet Labs and the co-founder of Medidata Solutions Glen de Vries. William Shanter, 90, has made history as the oldest person to visit space. He broke the record previously held by 82-year-old Wally Funk who was part of the passengers who went to space on Blue Origin’s first space trip.
The New Shepard rocket (NS-18) took off from Blue Origin’s launch site in West Texas at 10:49 a.m. ET. According to a tweet from the company, the rocket peaked at an estimated altitude of 107 kilometres, reached 2,235mph (3,597kph) and landed 10 minutes and 15 seconds after liftoff with the crew which were held in the crew capsule – RSS First Step, experiencing four minutes of weightlessness.
The passengers, especially Star Trek actor William Shatner seemed excited after the trip. “I hope I never recover from this. I hope I maintain what I feel now”. “Everybody in the world needs to do this. Everyone needs to see. It was unbelievable. It’s extraordinary, extraordinary. It’s so much larger than me and life. It hasn’t got anything to do with the little green men and the blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death”, he added.
Although the price of the fare for the trip was not disclosed, only two of the passengers that were on the second crewed flight paid to be on the flight. William Shatner did not pay to be on the flight. Let’s take a quick look at the profiles of the passengers on the flight…
Glen de Vries is a co-founder of clinical research company Medidata and is also the Vice-Chairman of Dassault Systemes which is the company that acquired Medidata in 2019. The next passenger, Chris Boshuizen, is a co-founder of satellite imagery company Planet Labs and is also a partner at investment firm DVCV. He also holds the record for the third Australian to visit space.
Space travel is becoming increasingly popular and space companies are already looking towards a future where they can take people, in mass, to see space for themselves. The race by companies to launch the world into an era of commercial space travel has been tagged “Billionaire Space Race”. This makes sense because the companies pushing for commercial space travel are owned by billionaires.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic made history for being the first crewed flight to visit space. After this flight, Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin completed its first-ever crewed flight. Billionaire Elon Musk also has plans on visiting space, although on a different mission he calls “DOGE Mission to the Moon”.
In the nearest future, it’ll be possible to wake up one morning and decide to visit space as long as you can afford it. Richard Branson’s space company plans on commencing commercial operations by 2022 and is working on how to cut down on the prices for the flight.