Jeff Bezos arrives for Blue Origin suborbital spaceflight

‘Star Trek’s’ William Shatner going to space on Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket, admires ‘remarkable’ vision

Actor William Shatner discusses his upcoming launch to space. 

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos has arrived in West Texas ahead of the aerospace company's upcoming suborbital spaceflight, according to a photo shared on Instagram by his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.

"Boots on the ground in Texas for @blueorigin launch," Sanchez wrote. "Can’t wait!"


New Shepard's NS-18 mission, which is set to lift off from Launch Site One at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday after being delayed by weather, will carry 90-year-old "Star Trek" veteran William Shatner, Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations Audrey Powers, former NASA engineer and Planet Labs co-founder Dr. Chris Boshuizen and Medidata co-founder and Dassault Systèmes' Glen de Vries. The flight will last for approximately 11 minutes.

Shatner, who will become the oldest person to fly to space, praised Bezos during an interview with FOX Business' Neil Cavuto for having a "remarkable" and "practical" vision. When asked what he plans to do when he gets to space, the actor said he will "see the vastness of space and the fragility of the Earth" and "continue that theme in my thinking and in my work."

Glenn de Vries, who is a paying customer along with Chris Boshuizen, said that he is excited for the opportunity to travel to space and to contribute to "accelerating how quickly we can get access to space for everybody and how we can democratize the benefits of space and space technology for as many people on Earth as we can."

"Space has always been the domain of governments and its' quite remarkable that, in 2021, there's going to be five private spaceflights," Boshuizen added. "I think in 50 years we'll look back at this year and go this was the beginning of actually the public's movement into space and the opening up of the space frontier. So I think it's a really exciting time to be doing this with this crew."


Wednesday's launch comes after Blue Origin completed its first successful crewed launch in July, carrying Bezos, his brother Mark, 82-year-old aerospace pioneer Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen about 66.5 miles above Earth. 

It also comes as Blue Origin is facing multiple allegations outlined in an essay by a group of 21 former and current employees, including creating an unsafe working environment for female employees, ignoring safety and environmental concerns and engaging in a "suppression of dissent" to avoid internal criticism. The company previously told FOX Business that it has "no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind" and believes that New Shepard is "the safest space vehicle ever designed or built."

"My experience has been that we’re exceedingly thorough," Powers told Cavuto. "We conduct safety reviews continuously through the design, through the flight test program, through our operations and maintenance of the vehicles and ground systems…so my experience has been that we’re as thorough as any of the other companies that I’ve worked on through my career in this industry." 

The safety concerns raised in the essay are under review by the Federal Aviation Administration.   

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