90-year-old William Shatner becomes the oldest person to travel to space
Blue Origin has successfully completed its second human flight using its New Shepard launch vehicle, with the crew capsule safely touching down in the Texas desert on Wednesday afternoon local time. The RSS First Step mission sees another four astronauts minted through Blue Origin's nascent space tourism business, including writer, actor and Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner.
Blue Origin completed the first human flight of its reusable New Shephard spacecraft back in July, and in early October announced the crew for the NS-18 mission. This included the company's boss of flight operations Audrey Powers, former NASA engineer Dr Chris Boshuizen, scientist and businessman Glen de Vries, and the 90-year-old Shatner.
The spacecraft lifted off successfully from Blue Origin's Launch Site One in West Texas on Wednesday morning, before separating and sending the crew capsule toward a target altitude of 66 miles (106 km) above ground level. Here at apogee the team experienced some moments of weightlessness and enjoyed panoramic views of the Earth and surrounding space environment.
Meanwhile, the New Shepard booster came down to land on Earth, the fourth successful landing for that booster, with the capsule soon following. Main chutes slowed the descent to 16 mph (26 km/h) and the capsule was slowed further to just 1 mph before gently touching down in the West Texas desert.
This marks the 19th consecutive crew capsule landing for Blue Origin, and its successful return sees William Shatner become the oldest person to have ever flown into space.
You can check out a full replay of the NS-18 mission below.
Source: Blue Origin