William Shatner's spacewalk is highlighting the ups and downs of Blue Origin - Start Up Gazzete
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William Shatner’s spacewalk is highlighting the ups and downs of Blue Origin


Star Trek captain William Shatner’s scheduled suborbital space travel is bringing a renewed flood of attention to Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space adventure, but like a movie reboot, the story is more complex the second time around.

Three months after Bezos took a seat on his company’s first manned spaceflight, Shatner’s celebrity is sparking a series of feel-good interviews, with his three fellow fliers playing supporting roles. Tech entrepreneurs Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries are paying undisclosed fees. Like Shatner, Audrey Powers, Blue Origin vice president for New Shepard mission and flight operations, flies for free.

The quartet is scheduled to take off from Launch Site One in West Texas at 8:30 a.m. CT (6:30 a.m. PT) on Wednesday, aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital spacecraft. They’re in the middle of a couple of days of pre-launch training, documented on this morning’s network news shows.

Most of the interviews referred to the flight’s one-day delay due to an unacceptable wind forecast for Tuesday, but during the CBS interview, Shatner also volunteered to compliment Bezos’s long-term vision of having millions of people living and working in space.

“Jeff Bezos’s concept of doing all of this is to build industry, homes, live in close connection with Earth and function close to Earth,” Shatner said on CBS. “And that’s a vision that I think is very practical and worth supporting.”

This week’s scheduled flight is just a small step toward Bezos’s vision: like the first manned flight in July, it will involve climbing to a height beyond the 100-kilometer (62-mile) space limit for a few minutes of weightlessness and a window view of the curved Earth under the black sky of space.

The journey will last about 10 minutes, ending with the autonomous landing of the booster rocket and the parachute-assisted landing of the crew capsule. Shatner, who at 90 is in line to become the oldest in the world, will have to endure several G’s of acceleration. But the experience is far less intense than, say, the three-day orbital flight that billionaire Jared Isaacman and his three crewmates took in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule last month.


Shatner’s stardom, and the fact that his suborbital space travel comes courtesy of the world’s richest individual, are among the factors that have taken this week’s flight out of the realm of space developments and into the mainstream. main of the media. The event has also brought Jeff Bezos (and his partner Lauren Sánchez) deeper into the mainstream of social media:

At the same time, the new wave of attention serves to highlight the challenges Blue Origin faces on other fronts.

Some of those challenges were met when Bezos flew in July: delays in the development of the next-generation BE-4 rocket engine and orbital-class New Glennde rocket, plus the failure to win continued funding from NASA for a landing system. lunar. But since July, Blue Origin has also had to deal with allegations of sexual harassment and questions about flight safety.

During an interview with CNN, Powers specifically addressed the security issue. “We have moved very methodically into these human flights that we just started recently, and safety has always been … our top priority,” he said.

A recently released Washington Post report expands on claims that Blue Origin managers fostered an “authoritarian sibling culture,” and cites concerns about “Bezos’s lack of intervention.” There are also reports that Bezos is devoting more time and attention to the situation at Blue Origin now that he has resigned from his role as CEO of Amazon.

Competition with SpaceX, which has been far more successful on the space frontier, is said to be one of the motivating factors for Bezos. “He’s super jealous of SpaceX,” the Post said, citing an unnamed industry official.

Bezos obliquely addressed the controversy in one of his latest tweets, which featured a screenshot of a 1999 Barron’s magazine cover stringing “Amazon.Bomb” at a time when the company’s adjusted stock price ranged from $ 40 and $ 100. (Current stock price, on an adjusted basis, is greater than $ 3,200).

“Listen and be open, but don’t let anyone tell you who you are,” Bezos tweeted. “This was just one of many stories that we were told of all the ways we were going to fail.”

Author avatar
Joshua Smith

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