This Wednesday (13), Blue Origin has launched the NS mission-13, the second manned commercial flight performed by the New Shepard vehicle. The crew of space tourists included actor William Shatner, 90 years old, accompanied by three other passengers, who traveled to suborbital space to 100 km of altitude and experienced a few minutes of weightlessness, returning to Earth shortly thereafter.
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franchise Star Trek, and today became the oldest person to go into space — until then, the title belonged to Wally Funk, 59 year old pilot who was part of the crew of Blue Origin’s first commercial manned flight, launched in July.
On his Twitter profile, the actor commented that he couldn’t take his cell phone to publish a tweet from space, but he said he left something programmed for this moment: “I don’t know with the that I look like to the world, but to me, I always seemed to have been a boy playing on the beach, having fun and finding a pebble or shell prettier than usual, while the great ocean of truth is in front of me, to be discovered” .
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Along with him was Audrey Powers, vice president mission and flight operations at Blue Origin; Glen de Vries, co-founder of Dassault Systèmes; and finally Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Planet Labs. The crew arrived at Launch Site One, the company’s Texas launch facility, around 9:00 am EDT to change into costumes and prepare for the flight. There, Blue Origin presented them with a commemorative coin of the flight. Afterwards, space tourists boarded a Rivian vehicle to proceed to the launch tower — which, incidentally, had Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos in the driver’s seat.
A Blue Origin performed new checks of the vehicle’s systems, which resulted in a delay of approximately 26 minutes to launch . Accompanied by Bezos, the space tourists arrived at the platform around 12h, at Brasília time and, after climbing the tower and posing for photos and videos, they entered the capsule around 05h01, following their respective seats; Bezos exited the capsule and closed the hatch at 13h12. There was a pause of more than 12 minutes in the countdown to release, held for Blue Origin ensure proper closing of the hatch and conduct final checks.
Launch took place at 12h30 and the New Shepard continued its journey; since this is a suborbital vehicle, the system does not reach enough speed to orbit the Earth. The propellant was separated from the capsule at 12h54 and began to return autonomously and, meanwhile, the capsule followed on a parabolic trajectory above the Line of Kárman, an imaginary line that establishes km of altitude as the boundary of space. At that moment, the crew were able to unbuckle their seat belts to enjoy four minutes of weightlessness — plus an incredible view of Earth and space.
At 12h 58, about seven minutes after launch, the New Shepard’s booster landed softly on the ground, completing its fourth landing. Already at 12h58, the capsule followed in a controlled descent, to 18 km/h, with parachute helping deceleration; the space tourists landed safely on the ground at 12h. The crew emerged from the pod smiling, greeted by friends and family, the Blue Origin recovery team, and Jeff Bezos.
Photos and videos of this historic trip will still be published by Blue Origin, but for now, you can review all the moments of the release in the video below:
Source: Space.com, The Guardian, The Verge
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