William Shatner goes to space on Blue Origin mission

By Jackie Wattles, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 6:31 PM ET, Wed October 13, 2021
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11:22 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

Capsule carrying crew returns to Earth

The capsule carrying the crew aboard the Blue Origin flight has returned and just landed on Earth.

Actor William Shatner could be heard saying, "That was unlike anything they described."

Shatner became the oldest person to travel to space.

11:02 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

Shatner tweeted an Isaac Newton quote as he arrived in space

William Shatner's official Twitter account sent out a quote from Sir Isaac Newton as the 90-year-old crossed into space.

The tweet read: "I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore,  diverting myself in now & then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."

See the tweet:

11:06 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

The booster has landed

(Blue Origin)
(Blue Origin)

The New Shepard's booster has now landed. We're still waiting for the capsule, carrying the crew, to land.

10:58 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

Crew will start feeling weightlessness

The crew abroad the Blue Origin flight should now start feeling weightlessness.

They will be allowed to unstrap from their seats and float in the capsule.

The crew capsule soared past the Kármán Line, the internationally recognized boundary of space, and has now reached the top of its flight path.

10:53 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

The booster has now separated

The booster has now separated.

The New Shepard's booster has detached from the capsule.

The crew capsule will continue vaulting upward as the rocket, which is more aerodynamic, begins to fall back toward Earth. 

10:53 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

The rocket's engine has shut off

The New Shepard rocket has just shut off its engine.

This is normal and part of the process. The crew is still heading into space.

10:50 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

The rocket just experienced "Max Q." Here's what that means.

The New Shepard rocket and capsule just experienced what’s called “Max Q,” an aerospace term that refers to the point during flight at which a vehicle experiences its maximum dynamic pressure.

Put simply: It’s when the rocket is drumming up high speeds at a time when the atmosphere is still pretty thick, putting a lot of pressure on the vehicle.  

Here’s NASA’s explanation

The density of the air decreases with altitude in a complex manner. The velocity of a rocket during launch is constantly increasing with altitude. Therefore, the dynamic pressure on a rocket during launch is initially zero because the velocity is zero. The dynamic pressure increases because of the increasing velocity to some maximum value, called the maximum dynamic pressure, or Max Q. Then the dynamic pressure decreases because of the decreasing density.” 

10:58 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

Shatner and crew lift off in historic space trip

(Blue Origin)
(Blue Origin)

The Blue Origin flight carrying "Star Trek" actor William Shatner, Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations Audrey Powers, Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries has lifted off into space.

The New Shepard NS-18 flight will take 11 minutes and soar past the Kármán Line, the internationally recognized boundary of space.

At age 90, Shatner will become the oldest person to have flown in space.

10:47 a.m. ET, October 13, 2021

Blue Origin rocket "go for launch," ground control says

(Blue Origin)
(Blue Origin)

Ground control announced the Blue Origin rocket is "go for launch."

Lift off is set to happen in about 4 minutes.

Blue Origin tweeted that the "go poll is complete."