Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin will fly William Shatner — Captain Kirk himself from “Star Trek” — to space for its second human mission on Wednesday.
Why it matters: The launch will be another step toward proving the company can safely launch people to suborbital space and bring them back to Earth.
Details: Shatner will be joined for the flight by Blue Origin’s Audrey Powers, satellite company Planet’s co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Medidata co-founder Glen de Vries.
Blue Origin will air live coverage of the launch Wednesday, starting about an hour before liftoff, which is expected at 9:30am ET.The company’s first human flight carried Bezos and three others to space in July.
How it works: Blue Origin’s New Shepard space system is designed to bring a capsule carrying its passengers about 62 miles above the surface of the Earth.
The capsule separates from the rocket and the booster comes back down to Earth to land.People inside the capsule experience a few minutes of weightlessness before the craft descends back to Earth under parachutes for a landing in Texas.
What to expect on launch day:
T-7.5 hrs: Rocket rolls out to launch pad
T-3 hrs: Propellant load begins
T-45 mins: Go for astronaut load & proceed to the launch tower
T-35 mins: Astronauts begin load into the crew capsule
T-24 mins: Crew Capsule hatch closed
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) October 12, 2021
The big picture: Wednesday’s planned launch comes as Blue Origin faces major questions about how it treats its employees and how its culture may impact the safety of its systems.
“That culture has also taken a toll on the mental health of many of the people who make Blue Origin’s operations possible,” a letter written by current and former employees released earlier this month says.”Memos from senior leadership reveal a desire to push employees to their limits, stating that the company needs to ‘get more out of our employees’ and that the employees should consider it a ‘privilege to be a part of history.'”