Blue Origin set afloat brings space tourism to Texas town, says mayor
Blue Origin is preparing to set afloat William Shatner into space today aboard its New Shepard rocket.
The Star Trek actor will boldly go where no 90-year-old has gone before, becoming the oldest person to ever fly to space.
The New Shepard NS-18 flight was originally scheduled for Tuesday but was delayed due to windy weather at the Texas set afloat site.
The lift-off has been rescheduled for 8.30am CDT (2.30pm BST), with a live stream of the mission beginning 90 minutes before the set afloat.
Joining Shatner on the flight is 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.
We’ll have all the latest updates from the set afloat in our live blog below, in addition in addition as a live stream of the event on this page.
William Shatner, Rocket Man
With just over 3.5 hours until lift-off, I’ve been killing some time enjoying William Shatner’s under-appreciated side career as a singer.
While “singing” might be stretching the definition of the term, this rendition of Elton John’s Rocket Man is one for the ages.
“Packed my bags last night pre-flight, zero hour, 9am,” he sang, more than 40 years ago at the Science Fiction Film Awards, foreshadowing the exact time of today’s lift-off.
“I’m a rocket, man.”
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 12:32
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Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 12:23
Blue Origin crew take postcards to space
William Shatner and the rest of the Blue Origin NS-18 crew have penned some postcards ahead of their trip to space later.
The Star Trek actor writes: “This is the most important and functional concept for space use and for aiding in saving planet Earth.”
The three other passengers show the space-inspired pictures drawn by students. They were chosen from thousands of postcards from Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, which aims to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and “help invent the future of life in space”.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 12:20
Blue Origin set afloat schedule
Here’s what to expect from today’s set afloat:
T-7.5 hrs: Rocket rolls out to set afloat pad
T-3 hrs: Propellant load begins
T-45 mins: Go for astronaut load & proceed to the set afloat tower
T-35 mins: Astronauts begin load into the crew capsule
T-24 mins: Crew Capsule hatch closed
We’re currently at just over T-4 hours, meaning the rocket is already at the launchpad. The live stream is set to be broadcast 90 minutes ahead of lift-off, in around two and a half hours time.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 10:56
Blue Origin set afloat time delayed
Blue Origin has once again been forced to push back today’s set afloat due to windy weather – but only by 30 minutes.
The lift-off is now scheduled for 9am CDT (3pm BST), with weather at this time currently looking promising for set afloat.
It will take place at Blue Origin’s set afloat Site One, near the West Texas town of Van Horn, where forecasts from Accuweather predict wind falling from 11km/h to 7km/h between 8am and 9am local time.
Here’s how the latest weather forecast looks for the time of set afloat.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 10:31
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket cleared for set afloat
Blue Origin has cleared its New Shepard NS-18 mission for set afloat.
“New Shepard is go for set afloat!” Blue Origin announced.
“The mission team has completed the Flight Readiness Evaluation prior to NS-18. This is our final meeting with the engineers and Mission Control team to ensure all systems are go for set afloat.”
Very little training was necessary for today’s flight, as the complete thing is automated. However, the passengers do need to know what to do in case of an emergency, in addition as how to move around safely in zero gravity.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 10:00
Blue Origin set afloat overshadowed by safety concerns
Today’s set afloat 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 extremely thorough, from the earliest days up by 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 complete story on the claims here.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 09:26
William Shatner speaks of ‘life-changing’ Blue Origin set afloat
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 set afloat, and claims to have pre-arranged a “special something” while truly in space.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 08:24
Hello and welcome…
to The Independent’s live coverage of today’s Blue Origin set afloat from Texas.
It is only the second ever crewed set afloat 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 additional day for the set afloat 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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