Star Trek icon William Shatner, aged 90, is poised to become the oldest man to go into space, as he is slated to join the crew of Jeff Bezos' next New Shepard space flight. Here's hoping it actually crosses the Von Karman line this time.
Rod Pyle joins Leo to talk about the launch of the Astra rocket, which started its launch inching sideways across the launch pad before going up. Astra is a small rocket start-up, launching its third attempt. What happened? Rod says that one of the give small engines failed, and it could only hover until it became light enough to start climbing. Eventually, the rocket had to be destroyed as debris began to fall off the rocket itself. So third time wasn't a charm for Astra. But Space is hard.
Rod is back to talk about the billionaire space cowboys who have recently gone up into "space." Not even orbiting, mind you, just going up in a popcorn-like trajectory. Both Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos have gone up in their own developed space ships, while Elon Musk is busy creating his spaceship to go to Mars. But are they really astronauts? The FAA doesn't seem to think so, having released new specifications of how high you have to get to be considered an astronaut.
Rod joins Leo to talk about Jeff Bezos' flight on July 20th in Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft, which will duplicate Alan Shepard's suborbital flight in 1961. He's also taking Wally Funk, who was tested in the 60s by the Lovelace Clinic with the same tests as the original Mercury astronauts. Rod will be speaking at Spacefest this year about how movies have predicted our spacefaring future.
In what was dubbed the "battle of the billionaires," Virgin Galactic's Sir Richard Branson became the first billionaire to touch space. Branson beat the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, by one week who is planning to launch on Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket. Bezos took the high road, wishing Branson best wishes as he plans to join the Virgin founder flying above the "Von Karman" line to become an official astronaut. Leo wonders what's the point of it all, though, since Alan Shepard was the first American in space doing the same kind of sub-orbital flight in 1961.
The latest battle for space is being waged by billionaires. Jeff Bezos with Blue Origin is up against Sir Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic. And it looks like Branson is going to beat Bezos into space, launching his reusable space plane Unity Sunday. Bezos will be going up a week later. Leo says it used to be the battle of who can build the biggest yacht. Now it's who launches in a spaceship. Meanwhile, Elon Musk has sold all his houses and is living in a trailer in Texas to oversee the development of the SpaceX Starship for a journey to Mars.
Wally Funk, whose real name is Mary Wallace, will become the oldest person to go into space when she joins billionaire Jeff Bezos for a suborbital voyage onboard the Blue Origin New Glen spacecraft. Wallace is also a member of the famed Mercury 13 group on women who underwent the same battery of tests as the original NASA astronauts, but who were never able to make it into space. Now, 60 years later, Wally gets her chance.