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William Shatner's Spaceflight Launch Live Updates: Shatner The Oldest To Reach Space At 90

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is all set for its second crewed spaceflight that will carry four civilians including 'Star Trek' fame actor William Shatner. He will become the oldest person to enter space.

William Shatner

Image: Twitter/@BlueOrigin

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is all set for its second crewed spaceflight that will carry four civilians including 'Star Trek' fame actor William Shatner. He will become the oldest person to enter space.
20:58 IST, October 13th 2021
Shatner becomes the oldest person to travel to space at 90

With his first-ever flight, William Shatner broke the record of being the oldest person to travel to space at 90 years of age. The record previously belonged to Wally Funk who reached space at the age of 82. 


20:48 IST, October 13th 2021
Shatner tears up after touch down; thanks Bezos for the flight

William Shatner, during his post-touchdown interview, teared up and thanked Jeff Bezos for the opportunity. 

20:45 IST, October 13th 2021
Bezos welcomes the astronauts with big thumbs up, opens the hatch

Jeff Bezos raced to the space capsule to welcome the astronauts with a big thumbs up, and opened the hatch followed by a bottle of champagne.


20:33 IST, October 13th 2021
Crew NS18 capsule touches down marking Blue Origin's second successful manned spaceflight

All four astronauts have safely and successfully touched down after 11 minutes of flight time. This marks Blue Origin's second successful crewed spaceflight. 


20:29 IST, October 13th 2021
New Shepard rocket lands after escorting the capsule over Karman line

The New Shepard rocket has landed after escorting the capsule over Karman line. The capsule will stay in space for 11 minutes.


20:23 IST, October 13th 2021
Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket successfully lifts off to space

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket successfully lifts off to space. Capsule separates from the booster.


20:17 IST, October 13th 2021
Blue Origin nears the second launch with NS18 crew, four minutes to go

The Blue Origin NS18 crew is nearing its launch with under four minutes to launch.


19:46 IST, October 13th 2021
Astronauts strap their belts aboard the spacecraft

All four astronauts have strapped their belts in the space shuttle for final preparations, Bezos closes the hatch. 


19:06 IST, October 13th 2021
Blue Origin's flight to take off under 40 minutes, astronauts reach the site

Blue Origin has delayed its flight time by 40 minutes, however, the astronauts have arrived at the mission control centre and are heading at the launch site.


18:59 IST, October 13th 2021
Elon Musk wishes "Godspeed" to Shatner as the latter nears launch

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also threw in his best wishes for William Shatner with his tweet, "Godspeed Captain".


18:44 IST, October 13th 2021
Blue Origin releases special coins dedicated to members of NS18 crew

Ahead of Blue Origin's second launch, the company released special coins that are specially designed for the NS18 crew members. The coins are imprinted with texts that read, "You will be known in history for taking a pioneering first step toward millions of people living and working in space to benefit Earth". 


18:32 IST, October 13th 2021
NASA sends its best wishes to William Shatner before the historic launch

Read NASA's full statement here: 

After nearly 50 years of warping across galaxies and saving the universe from a variety of alien threats and celestial disasters, Star Trek’s William Shatner finally went where no other member of Starfleet has gone before. This weekend, the acclaimed actor and director was honored with NASA’s Distinguished Public Service medal, the highest award bestowed by the agency to non-government personnel.

The honor was presented to Shatner Saturday evening in Los Angeles at his annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show, where he raises money for a variety of children’s causes. The citation for the medal reads, “For outstanding generosity and dedication to inspiring new generations of explorers around the world, and for unwavering support for NASA and its missions of discovery.” 

“William Shatner has been so generous with his time and energy in encouraging students to study science and math, and for inspiring generations of explorers, including many of the astronauts and engineers who are a part of NASA today, ” said David Weaver, NASA’s associate administrator for the Office of Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington.  “He's most deserving of this prestigious award.”

A life-long advocate of science and space exploration, Shatner gained worldwide fame and became a cultural icon for his portrayal of Captain James Tiberius Kirk, commander of the starship USS Enterprise in NBC’s science fiction television series “Star Trek” from 1966 to 1969. It was a role he would reprise in an animated version of the series in 1973, seven major films from 1979 to 1994, and more recent “Star Trek” video games.

Shatner’s relationship with NASA dates back to the original series, with references to the space agency and its programs that were incorporated into storylines throughout the television and film franchises. In 1976, when NASA was ready to introduce a reusable spacecraft as the successor to the Apollo program, a new space shuttle prototype, originally to be named Constitution, was dubbed Enterprise in honor of the Star Trek universe and the work of Shatner and his series co-stars.

More recently, Shatner donated his time and vocal talent to host the NASA documentary celebrating the 30th anniversary of space shuttle missions. To honor the final flight of shuttle Discovery in 2011, he agreed to recreate his famous Star Trek television introduction in one of the last wake-up calls for the astronauts of the STS-133 mission.

In 2012, he hosted a video presentation previewing the dramatic mission of the Mars rover Curiosity and voiced his support for NASA spinoff technologies that come as a result of investments in science, technology and exploration.

Other past recipients of the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal include astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, former NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory director and Voyager project scientist Edward Stone, theoretical physicist and astronomer Lyman Spitzer, and science fiction writer Robert Heinlein. The award is presented to those who “… have personally made a contribution representing substantial progress to the NASA mission. The contribution must be so extraordinary that other forms of recognition would be inadequate.”

Besides his acting and directing talents, Shatner is a prolific author, having taken the reins for nearly 50 books, and is an accomplished horse rider and breeder.  

18:25 IST, October 13th 2021
The flight will last 11 minutes, the same as the first one, says Blue Origin

The company informed that the flight profile of Blue Origin's second crewed launch will be the same as it was for the first one i.e. 11 minutes. In these 11 minutes between takeoff and capsule landing, the astronauts will experience three to four minutes of weightlessness when they reach the Kármán Line, the internationally-recognized boundary of space.

18:08 IST, October 13th 2021
Blue Origin's NS18 mission crew arrives at the launch site, watch the coverage here

Blue Origin's NS18 mission crew has arrived at the launch site in West Texas and is suiting up for the launch. The live coverage has officially begun that the viewers can watch on Blue Origin's website or on its YouTube Channel. 


17:55 IST, October 13th 2021
Read what Shatner wrote in his postcard before blasting off to space

All four members of the mission NS18 crew have prepared a handwritten postcard that they will take with them to space. In Shatner's note, he had written, "This is the most important and practical concept for space use and for aiding in saving planet Earth" which was shared on Twitter.


17:36 IST, October 13th 2021
Meet the crew members accompanying Shatner in his record-breaking flight

Blue Origin's second crewed flight will be boarded by three other civilians who will accompany William Shatner in his record-breaking flight. The other members include Audrey Powers, Blue Origin's vice-president of mission and flight operations, Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Earth observation company Planet Labs and  Glen de Vries, vice chair at French software company Dassault Systèmes.


17:24 IST, October 13th 2021
Jeff Bezos will send his childhood-era Star Trek artwork with William Shatner to space

Jeff Bezos has chucked in his childhood-era artwork that he made to play Star Trek with his friends when he was nine years old. Bezos shared the paper tricorders and communicator which Star Trek actor William Shatner has agreed to take with him to space. 


A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos)


17:04 IST, October 13th 2021
Records that Blue Origin has broken so far...

Other than sending the oldest person to space, Jeff Bezos' company also owns the record of sending the youngest person to space that was 18-year-old Oliver Daemen. Besides, the company also made the record of sending first siblings to space in Jeff and Mark Bezos, who were also part of the crew. In its fourth record, Blue Origin's New Shepard RSS First Step became the first spacecraft that successfully completed a commercial suborbital flight with paying customers. 

17:04 IST, October 13th 2021
What feat will Blue Origin achieve with this flight?

Once the actor William Shatner exits the Earth's atmosphere, he will become the oldest person to have visited space at the age of 90 years. With the awaiting launch, the company will break its own Guinness World record of sending the oldest person to space as Wally Funk (82) had the record to her name from Blue Origin's first flight in July 2021. 

17:04 IST, October 13th 2021
What time is the launch and how to watch it?

Viewers can watch the launch live on Blue Origin's official website and also on its YouTube channel where the company has scheduled the live telecast of the launch by the name, ‘New Shepard Mission NS-18 Webcast’. The lift-off will take place from Blue Origin's West Texas site at 7:00 pm (IST) and the broadcast is likely to commence an hour earlier. 


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