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Blue Origin launch – as it happened: William Shatner launched into space on historic flight

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 14 October 2021 07:30 BST
Watch live as Star Trek actor William Shatner blasts into space in New Shepard

Blue Origin has launched William Shatner into space aboard its New Shepard rocket.

The Star Trek actor has gone where no 90-year-old has gone before, becoming the oldest person to ever fly to space.

According to a live stream of the historic event, Shatner reached an altitude of roughly 350,000ft and a velocity of about 2,000mph.

The trip lasted about 10 minutes, when the capsule fell back to Earth with a parachute.

The New Shepard NS-18 flight was originally scheduled for Tuesday but was delayed due to windy weather at the Texas launch site.

Shatner is joined on the flight by Blue Origin Vice President Audrey Powers, former Nasa engineer Chris Boshuizen and Medidata CEO Glen de Vries.

It comes less than three months after Jeff Bezos made the same 11-minute trip aboard the first ever crewed New Shepard rocket.

You can read how the launch played out in our live blog below, as well as watch a video of the event at the top of this page.


Blue Origin launch overshadowed by safety concerns

Today’s launch comes just days after reports emerged of a “toxic” work culture at Blue Origin, and claims that it fails to meet proper safety protocols.

There have been just three crewed space tourist missions so far – with Blue Origin, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic each launching one apiece – and in these tentative early days any disaster could prove fatal for the nascent industry.

Senior executives from Blue Origin, however, have strenuously denied the safety allegations made by former employees.

“We’re exceedingly thorough, from the earliest days up through now as we’ve started our human flights,” said Blue Origin’s Audrey Powers, who will be on today’s flight. “Safety has always been our top priority.”

You can read our full story on the claims here.

Jeff Bezos’s space venture Blue Origin plagued by ‘toxic’ atmosphere employees claim

Employees complained the workplace had become too dysfunctional to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX

Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 09:26

William Shatner speaks of ‘life-changing' Blue Origin launch

William Shatner has spoken about the “life-changing” trip he is about to embark upon aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-18 rocket today.

“We’re just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is. And how extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning.” he says in a promotional video posted by the private space firm to Twitter.

He may claim to be terrified but he’s looking in great shape! He’s also been busy tweeting in the hours leading up to the launch, and claims to have pre-arranged a “special something” while actually in space.

Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 08:24

Hello and welcome...

to The Independent’s live coverage of today’s Blue Origin launch from Texas.

It is only the second ever crewed launch of the New Shepard rocket, coming less than three months after Jeff Bezos made the same 11-minute trip.

The most notable passenger aboard today’s flight is 90-year-old Star Trek star William Shatner, who will become the oldest person to ever reach space if all goes well.

The nonagenarian said last week that he was “terrified” to head to space, and has had to wait an extra day for the launch due to bad weather.

Lift-off is scheduled for 8.30am CDT (2.30pm BST) - approximately six hours from now - and we’ll be bringing you all the latest news and updates from Texas right here.

Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 08:14

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