William Shatner gets emotional after Blue Origin landing
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His company, Blue Origin, has successfully sent eight people into space with its New Shepard suborbital flights. They include Star Trek actor William Shatner, 90, who became the oldest person in space. Now, according to space reporter Sarwat Nasir, the UAE government has “confirmed they are working with Blue Origin to bring space tourism flights to the country”.
It comes after Brent Sherwood, senior vice president of advanced development programmes for Blue Origin, said the UAE was an “obvious choice” for a spaceport and that it was looking to expand its launch sites from the current one in El Paso, Texas.
He was speaking at the International Astronautical Congress, which is taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre until October 29.
AzurX is a private company in Dubai that is working as a strategic adviser to Blue Origin and will work as a bridge between the UAE and space tourism company.
Anna Hazlett, chief executive of AzurX, said it would be helping Blue Origin with its localisation strategy in the UAE.
Blue Origin has not revealed the price of a ticket on a New Shepard flight, but one was sold for $28 million during an auction.
Mr Sherwood said prices are expected to decrease once reusable orbital vehicles become more common.
But space tourism, and Mr Bezos, has come under fire.
Professor Mike Berners-Lee, the author of There is No Planet B, told GMB this morning: “If you’re going to have that much money then it’s a decision to take on more responsibility for the custodianship of the world.
“With that wealth becomes a responsibility.
“One or two of the world’s richest people are making a serious effort to push billions into serious efforts.
“But if you wanted to put your space billions into the most environmentally destructive cause you could, space tourism would be it.”
“In space tourism, it turns out to be a carbon footprint of, every minute, one astronaut is burning through the average Briton’s annual carbon footprint.
“That’s per minute. So it’s a huge carbon footprint.
“It’s not the direct emissions of the spacecraft, but because of the emissions that take place to create the fuel.”
But not everyone agrees.
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Also speaking on GMB, Dr Martin Archer, a Space Physicist at Imperial College London, said: “A lot of people don’t realise that a lot of the fuels that we use to send rockets into space actually don’t create any CO2 at all.
“One of the main ones just combines hydrogen and oxygen, so what you see coming out of the rocket is actually just water vapour.
“The carbon footprint of space travel is not huge.
“I would say to Mike, we’re not planning to send people to other planets – that’s not the purpose of space tourism.
“All of the evidence that we have from climate change comes from putting things into space.
“By having a private company they are passing information on to the likes of NASA – that only helps with the research in combatting climate change.”
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