Cue about a million Star Trek references…
The captain himself, aging actor William Shatner, went into space this morning to become one of the newest astronauts on Blue Origin’s New Shepard crew.
Warrior Trading followed this launch through CNET’s livestream of the voyage take-off.
Early footage showed a uniform-clad Shatner chatting with other crew members prior to liftoff.
“Shatner will be joined in the New Shepard capsule by Chris Boshuizen, former NASA engineer and co-founder of satellite imaging company Planet Labs; Glen de Vries, an entrepreneur and executive with French software company Dassault Systemes; and Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations, Audrey Powers,” Eric Mack reported at CNet.
Just minutes ago, as of press time, it was up, up and away! Footage will be available at CNet and elsewhere for those who were working or otherwise unavailable at the time of the launch.
The New Shepard program, named after Alan Shepard of Mercury fame, seeks to send more humans into that celestial realm as Blue Origin competes with Elon Musk’s SpaceX for satellite programs and other aspects of space exploration.
Prior to the launch, Shatner used humor to self-soothe.
“I’m terrified,” Shatner told Fox Business Oct. 10. “I’m Captain Kirk, and I’m terrified going to space. You know, I’m not really terrified. Yes, I am. It comes and goes like a summer cold. … You have three minutes to look into the abscess of space and the beauty of this oasis of Earth, and I was planning on pressing my nose against the window, you know? And my only hope was I wouldn’t see somebody else looking back.”
In just a few years, it seems new space flights have gone from an impossibility to something almost routine.
Both SpaceX and Blue Origin have demonstrated that it’s possible to make these manned trips as far as the International Space Station. What’s next for space depends on how NASA, America’s federal space exploration agency, plans to go forward. Stay tuned.