Update: Blue Origin successfully launched its second crewed flight with four passengers aboard, including the actor who famously played Captain Kirk in the original "Star Trek." Read our full story here.
VAN HORN, Texas — William Shatner and three other passengers will launch into space today (Oct. 13) on the second crewed flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket, and you can watch all the action live online.
The New Shepard rocket-capsule combo will lift off from Blue Origin's Launch Site One, near the West Texas town of Van Horn, at 9 a.m. local time (10 a.m. EDT; 1400 GMT). A live webcast of the mission will begin about 90 minutes before liftoff, and you can watch it live in the window above, courtesy of Blue Origin. The webcast will also stream live on Bue Origin's website and on YouTube.
Today's mission comes 12 weeks after Blue Origin's first-ever crewed launch, which carried to space the company's founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk and 18-year-old Dutch student Oliver Daemen. If all goes according to plan, Shatner will set a new record for being the oldest person to go to space at 90 years old — a record previously set by Funk on Blue Origin's July 20 launch.
Flying alongside Shatner (aka Captain Kirk from "Star Trek") on the NS-18 mission — the 18th launch of a New Shepard vehicle — will be Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations Audrey Powers; Glen de Vries, vice chair for life sciences and healthcare at the French software company Dassault Systèmes; and Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of the Earth-observation company Planet.
The entire flight will last about 11 minutes, and the crew will experience about four minutes of weightlessness while in space. New Shepard's rocket booster will separate from the capsule and return to Earth for an upright landing at Blue Origin's West Texas landing site, about 2 miles (3 kilometers) north of the launch pad, roughly eight minutes after liftoff.
While the booster is landing, the New Shepard capsule with the crew on board will reach its maximum altitude just above the Kármán line, the internationally-recognized boundary of space, which is about 62 miles (100 km) above sea level. The capsule will land back on Earth 11 minutes after liftoff.
Blue Origin's webcast will run for the entire duration of the mission, showing live views of the rocket and capsule during the launch and both landings. Blue Origin's recovery teams plan to open the hatch to the New Shepard capsule 11 minutes after the crew lands, with the webcast wrapping up shortly thereafter at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT).