Mr. Bezos, who said he was inspired by “Star Trek” as a boy, still listened like a statue. He may have given Mr. Shatner some space, but it was in stark contrast to his appearance after his own brief spaceflight in July, when he was aboard the same spacecraft. Then Mr. Bezos held up from a podium and criticized the massive company he’d founded, while thanking Amazon’s employees and customers for allowing him to fund his private space business.
Shatner shared the capsule Wednesday with three other passengers: Audrey Powers, a Blue Origin vice president who oversees New Shepard’s operations, and two paying customers: Chris Boshuizen, a co-founder of Earth-observation company Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, co-founder of a company that builds software for clinical researchers.
Wednesday morning’s launch was pushed back by about an hour with two pauses to the launch countdown — caused in part by extra controls on the spacecraft and winds near the launch pad. The quartet were driven to the Blue Origin launch pad in electric pickup trucks about an hour before the launch, flanked by Mr. Bezos and company employees.
For a moment, it looked like Mr. Bezos, dressed in a flight suit like the one he wore in July, would fly with them to space. But he closed the hatch before leaving the path and sent the crew on a journey.
The rocket lifted off at 9:49 a.m. Central Time, ascending nearly as fast as a bullet at 2,235 miles per hour, sending the crew some 100 miles high. The entire journey took 10 minutes and 17 seconds and gave the four passengers about four minutes of weightlessness.
Mr Boshuizen, speaking to reporters after the flight, likened the crew’s entry into space to a rock hitting the surface of a lake. “I tried to smile, but my jaw was pushed back in my head,” he said.