Of late, Jeff Bezos’ space venture, Blue Origin, has found itself to be the reason for headline for more reasons than one.
The aerospace company is readying itself for its second manned mission and this time, it this time, it would have onboard Star Trek’s Captain Kirk. The company confirmed in a blog post that they would be flying the 90-year-old William Shatner and Audrey Powers along with Blue Origin Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations, Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries on October 12.
Two incredible and inspirational people will join the #NS18 crew. Actor @WilliamShatner and Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations Audrey Powers @AudreyKPowers. pic.twitter.com/xqI9nw1KX8
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) October 4, 2021
That, however, comes as the first crewed mission is still not out of the news. The flight has entered the Guinness Book of Records on not one but four counts.
The four records that flight from July 20 this year set are; the oldest person to go to space, the youngest person to go to space, The first siblings to go to space and the first suborbital spacecraft to carry paying customers.
Wally Funk, the 82-year-old aviator became the oldest ever astronaut, fulfilling a lifelong dream that was thwarted by sexism as she tried to build a career in space exploration. 19-year-old high school student Oliver Daeman made it into the records book for being the youngest astronaut to go to space. His father had secured the spot for him at an auction.
For the last record, Jeff Bezos was famously accompanied on the flight by his brother Mark, making them both the first pair of siblings to enter space together.
However, not all news this past flight has made has put the company in a positive light. There has been mention of grave security concerns around this flight. Alexandra Abrams, former head of Blue Origin Employee Communications, and 20 other unnamed Blue Origin employees and former employees, said in an essay they had “seen a pattern of decision-making that often prioritises execution speed and cost reduction over the appropriate resourcing to ensure quality.”
Bezos “started becoming impatient and (SpaceX’s) Elon (Musk) and Branson were getting ahead,” Abrams told CBS News. “And then we started to feel this increasing pressure and impatience that would definitely filter down from leadership.”
According to the aforementioned essay, a 2018 team at Blue Origin “documented more than 1,000 problem reports related to the engines that power Blue Origin’s rockets, which had never been addressed.”