William Shatner safely goes to space and back [Updated]

arstechnica.com
4 min read
fairly easy
"Everybody in the world needs to do this."
11:10 am ET Update: Although the launch was delayed nearly an hour due to unspecified issues, Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft successfully took off from West Texas on Wednesday morning and safely landed 10 minutes and 18 seconds later. The capsule crested at an altitude of 107 km.

This was Blue Origin's second human spaceflight and garnered widespread attention because among the crew was Star Trek actor William Shatner, a guest of Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. "That's unlike anything I've ever felt before," Shatner said upon landing.

Blue Origin will now target one more crew flight in 2021, with six yet-unnamed passengers, likely to take place in December. The cadence for human suborbital missions should ramp up to 6 to 12 passenger flights in 2022. The main impediment to increasing cadence is believed to be heat shield refurbishment—there is plenty of demand from customers, even at prices of $1 million and higher for a seat on early missions.

Original post: Admittedly, there are many reasons to be cynical about today's human spaceflight on Blue Origin's New Shepard launch system.

The company founded by Jeff Bezos has not covered itself in glory of late, falling years short of delivering rocket engines to a key customer, United Launch Alliance, and suing another—NASA—after failing to win a contract to build a lunar lander. Thanks to Blue Origin's lawsuit, NASA's work with SpaceX on the Human Landing System has been on hold for nearly five months.

Then there are the recent revelations…
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