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William Shatner Completes Space Flight with Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket company blasted William Shatner into space Wednesday afternoon.

Shatner, 90, who played Captain James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek TV series, became the oldest person to go to space.

Shatner and three other passengers launched from a port in West Texas and traveled 66.5 miles (107 kilometers) into the sky. About 10 minutes after liftoff, the astronauts’ capsule parachuted backed to Earth. Bezos opened the hatch and welcomed the astronauts back.

Shatner called the ride a “profound experience.” 

“I hope I never recover from this,” he said after the flight. “I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it.”

Watch the flight broadcast below.

Cosmacelf

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So did the retro rockets fire before the capsule landed? The telemetry showed 16mph and then 0 at landing so it looks like they didn’t even though the announcers said fully nominal.

I didn’t listen to much chatter as it was way too much rah rah for me. I guessed that’s the difference between a serious company and a tourist operation.
 

Cosmacelf

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Definitely. That ring of dust around 47:32 is from the quick burst of the retros just before landing.

If it is that quick, isn’t the deacceleration almost as quick as landing at 16 mph? You’d think if comfort was the issue, they’d fire for a couple of seconds. The main booster certainly hovers for way longer than it needs to.
 

doug

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If it is that quick, isn’t the deacceleration almost as quick as landing at 16 mph?
I think it's significant for comfort, and probably helps the margin on safety. Soyuz has done it for years. In this case it not just acceleration but also the jerk (time derivative of acceleration). Apparently they also have some shock absorbers in the seat mounts.
 

Grendal

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So BO instead of competing with SpaceX and sending satellites and men to orbit, is now a glorified Disney ride attraction?

That is really what it has been for over ten years. The fact they still haven't launched a person on New Shepard yet says a lot. New Glenn will someday do bigger and better things but it is still a ways off. I personally find the assumption that because BO is reasonably successful at New Shepard means they'll be able to jump to New Glenn and do similar things is a very strange assumption. There is very little similarities between the two rockets - especially the booster landing regimen. I wish BO the best but I think they'll have a lot of issues come up with NG that slows their already slow advancement.
 

Cosmacelf

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So BO instead of competing with SpaceX and sending satellites and men to orbit, is now a glorified Disney ride attraction?

Yes. BO is going nowhere slowly. It’s almost as if Elon has this magic competitor field that turns all his competitors into idiots. Now that I think about it, he does. If you are a smart engineer, where do you want to work, SpaceX or BO? Tesla or GM?

Teslarati is not impressed.

SpaceX competitor Blue Origin completes first suborbital launch in 10 months

And why does New Glenn look like a you know what? It definitely fails the Elon aesthetics test.
 

Nikxice

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The only difference I noticed with this launch were new commentators (actually better). Since early 2015 it has been rinse and repeat approximately every six months. Postcards and seeds on the edge of Space. With the drive Jeff put into his amazing expansion of Amazon, I can't fathom he's happy with the progress of Blue.
 
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doug

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I don't know what they need to do to decide it's safe for passengers. This was their 13th launch, 7th with that booster. No mishaps as far as I know. It seems pretty safe. Definitely safer than Virgin Galactic which has a much more dramatic launch profile, is at least a decade behind schedule, and has already killed four people with four others seriously injured.

I guess the idea is New Shepard space tourists are supposed to help fund New Glenn and other projects. But it's not like Bezos is hurting for cash these days.
 

Cosmacelf

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The only difference I noticed with this launch were new commentators (actually better). Since early 2015 it has been rinse and repeat approximately every six months. Postcards and seeds on the edge of Space. With the drive Jeff put into his amazing expansion of Amazon, I can't fathom he's happy with the progress of Blue.

As Elon would say, Amazon had a different forcing function. Like many successful dotcoms that were the first in their industry, Amazon was literally overwhelmed with orders pretty much from day one. They had no choice but to grow quickly if they didn’t want to fail.

What external force drives Blue Origin? With Bezos willing and able to dump billions into it, there are no real deadlines. SpaceX had to make money from the get go (or at least show a path to profitability) since it was always severely undercapitalized in comparison.
 

Cosmacelf

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Pretty cheesy, fake enthusiasm, no technical details. It was as cheesy as watching a QVC channel.

Also why no cameras on board both the rocket and the capsule?

BO did release an inside video of one of the their NG launches a while back. It was the most boring thing ever. I don't think it "sold" the trip very well, so they probably canned it as it wasn't generating any PR value.

And I agree - very cheesy. I had to keep skipping, couldn't listen to them.
 
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Electroman

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It technically reaches space but doesn't reach orbit. So sub-orbital. The Karmann line is considered space.
Sorry to be pedantic. The word 'orbit' in English dictionary has specific meaning. So sub-orbit should have some correlation to orbit.

For example long range ballistic missiles are generally sub-orbital, and that makes sense, as it exits the atmosphere and then renters after traveling to another part of the world, without making a full orbit . You can say it did a partial orbit - now the usage of sub-orbital in that case makes sense.
 
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favo

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Sorry to be pedantic. The word 'orbit' in English dictionary has specific meaning. So sub-orbit should have some correlation to orbit.

For example long range ballistic missiles are generally sub-orbital, and that makes sense, as it exits the atmosphere and then renters after traveling to another part of the world, without making a full orbit . You can say it did a partial orbit - now the usage of sub-orbital in that case makes sense.
Note, suborbital is not hyphenated. Sense two is the relevant definition here.
sub·or·bit·al /ˌsəbˈôrbədl/

adjective
  1. situated below or behind the orbit of the eye.

  2. relating to or denoting a trajectory that does not complete a full orbit of the earth or other celestial body.
    "near the peak of the sub-orbital trajectory the booster fell away"
Also, here's a helpful article from Space.com: What's the difference between orbital and suborbital spaceflight?
 

Xepa777

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Aug 1, 2017
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Not that impressive.

Orbital velocity in low earth orbit is around 7.6 kilometres per second, and a suborbital hop could stay below 1km/s and definitely wouldn't exceed 2. For example, if SpaceX did this test with the Starship they wouldn't even need heat shield tiles.

NS is not in the same magnitude as anything SpaceX is currently doing, yet alone working on with Starship. To be fair, this mission was mainly used to test sensor+other tech for the Artemis mission.
 
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