tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN October 13, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PDT
astrophysicist at the harvard smithsonian center. great to have you with us this morning. we've been talking about for astronauts, part of what they would be thinking about in these moments would be not just the journey, but the mission. we talked about this a little earlier. i know for you there is a real mission to these launches and what could come of this. what do you see coming out of a day like today? >> we're seeing a new phase in the history of space tourism. a lot of people have forgotten that space tourism isn't new. it started in 2000 with bill nair dennis tito flying to the space station. what's new with these sub orbital missions, they're a lower price point, more people can afford to take them. we're seeing this flight at the same time there's a movie crew
on board the international space station, a japanese billionaire preparing to fly to orbit. we're seeing this rush of this new era of space tourism. >> no question. we're watching the crew get ready. it's called a shelter room there. we are just passing 30 minutes to launch time all these steps are key. they had to take off the little booties over your shoes. you want to keep, i would imagine, the capsule clean from dirt or dust. commander hadfield, can you explain how important these final little prep steps are because, again, space is hard, and you don't want to get anything in the way of a successful launch. >> i think one of the most important steps right now is bill shatner just sat down. that's a 90-year-old that just climbed multi stories. i really hope at 90 years old
i'm as physically able as bill is right now. i'm glad he's taking a moment to catch his breath. but before bernard and i flew, we go through a quarantine. part of it is because we don't want to take disease up to a space station. but also it's a time to gather yourself and get psychologically ready for the risk you're about to take and the import of what it will mean to separate away. just before we launched, we got into a little square painted white room like that as well. it's sort of the last goodbye step to earth before you climb into the ship and go. i think that's one more important phase before they're going to climb in, get on their backs and boldly go away from the atmosphere and out into the blackness of space. it's a good moment. >> you just heard each one of them ring that bell as they went to walk through this tunnel which says above it as they walked in "light this candle" as
they make their way out there. a hug there, audrey powers. i can only imagine what's going their their minds as they take their final steps. when you look at this and where this is taking us and the variety of the people on this flight, what is the importance, would you say, of these different passengers. we have audrey powers, extensive history at blue origins. you have william shatner. chris boss house. when you have that crew, what does it say about space travel.
>> chris was inspired by the fictional role that bill shatner portrayed when chris was going up. chris was colorblind, so didn't have a chance to qualify for the old standards. he worked for nasa and recognized there was tremendous business potential with the drop of cost, access to space and he helped formed the company planet that has hundreds and hundreds of little cameras that allow us to see and learn about the world every single day for what the north koreans are up to and how we're changing the planet i itself. he turned the aspiration into a personal inspiration into one of the -- that's the motivation that an event like today can bring. i think the variety of the crew that you see, it's each one of
them hopes and dreams and the successes they've had in life, all coming together to cross over into this moment, to do something that is still one of the rarest of human experiences, and the human stories to me are obviously the most interesting. i'm delighted for all four of them. >> a few statistics. they're going to go 62 miles high, just above what's known as the carmen line to get into space. the mission is going to take about ten minutes, three minutes of weightlessness. their speed at peak will be three times the speed of sound, more than 2,200 miles per hour. as far as a ticket cost, we know william shatner, he's comped, riding at an invitation of the company. blue origin has been somewhat coy about what the ticket price will be going forward. they are opening it up to the public. miles, there are good aspects to this. i've asked space force directly.
are they happy to see private companies operating more in space. they say they are, gives more options to launch their satellite into space. there are questions about what the regulations and controls are. how many folks are going up, not just for flights like this, but who can launch satellites. you've got micro satellites, many of them up there as well. you have companies such as china and russia deploying weapons in space. do we have a good handle? who is running things in space these days? >> it's kind of a wild west th thing. space is a big place. having said that, routinely they have to move their way out of projectiles and potentially pierce that thin aluminum skin. just the control and the regulatory environment around these launches. the faa has taken a fairly arms
elect approach to this. if you're the person willing to strap themselves into this, sign all the waivers and go for the ride, go for it they say. what they're worried about more in their regulatory mission is something happening that would land on the ground and hurt innocents. as time goes on and more and more people decide to become a part of this, that might change. we might have to think about a safety regimen that protects the passengers. i don't know how that's all going to sort out. too many regulations can make it difficult to explore. >> there are questions about the environmental impact. while there's talk about cleaner fuels, the reality is there's a
lot of waste generated. that's a concern, too. do you think that is getting enough attention? is it being glossed over? >> i worry about the climate emergency, don't get me wrong. in the grand scheme of the fossil fuels and greenhouse gases we put in the environment, this is pretty much a pinprick. there's a lot of weird optics here, racing each other to go bragging rights to go higher and farther and who gets william shatner on there first, this convergence between hollywood and reality between art and life. it's kind of messy right now in a way, as exciting as it is, too. i think as it unfolds, it will become clear to people and more routine. i suppose if we have the media
environment we have today in the 1920s, we might have had similar discussions. >> virgin galactic, there was investigation as to whether they flew outside their assigned safety window which is assigned in case there is an accident, that you reduce the possibility that some of that debris might impact people on the ground. these are real questions that have to be asked and addressed. dr. harris, we have you with us here, another experienced astronaut. do you believe the safety questions for private companies like this have been addressed sufficiently? >> i think a lot of this has been addressed. that's because most of the private companies have learned lessons from nasa. most have gotten technology advice as we see today.
nasa engineers are part of the commercial efforts and a number of these companies. i think safety is at the top of mind for most of these com companies. i think of this as a graduation, we've got astronauts that go into lower earth orbit, you have the tourism effort that's happening now. we've got deep space flight. you've got to have this whole continuum where there's going to be this continuum of human beings at different aspects and levels of space exploration. that's going to really require the faa, perhaps nasa, perhaps the un that's involved, that has committees that deal with space, to develop better regulation around this whole effort.
think about this. our kids growing up now whether never know a world where there will be no one in space. from this day forward, there will always be humans in space at some level, in lower earth orbit, on the moon and mars. to me that's very exciting. >> absolutely, absolutely. stretching the front tear. >> it is remarkable to think about that our kids watching right now won't remember a world without space, without people in space. jonathan mcdowell, as we talk more about what we can learn from this, what are you most excited about. >> it's really interesting to me
that people on this flight aren't just random billionaires. three of the four of them are people that the space community really well. everybody knows william shatner -- >> this is a communications check with the crew. let's have a listen. >> you got it. the welcome. all four astronauts in their seats. you heard affidavit now powell, astr astronauts and then, of course, our other customer. >> jonathan, apologies, we're listening there. it looks a little bit like a
modern day mission control, a little smaller than what we imagine from the nasa flights. you were making a great point about this crew. yes, there's william shatner. you have great folks here, rock stars and science in space. >> audrey powers is not just a blue origin employee, she's been a force in the new space community for many years, as mentioned earlier, chris boshuisen founded this amazing company, planet. for decades we were talking about how small satellites would revolution nice the space business, but they made it happen. this is not just random people who had an interest in space. they really contributed to the new space era that we have. de vries is the other guy that
none of us know, maybe the typical tourist we'll see going to space in the longer term, the person with a lot of money who is just a fan. >> there has been such a focus on that aspect of it, but i do think it's important to point out, as you were going through their resumes there, the real involvement that both audrey powers and chris boshuizen. his handle is apparently crispy. he goes by crispy in his musical career. we were listening in as we were doing the communications check. the clock now t minus 16 minutes. as we are told, they are just closing the hatch right now. you can see the picture there, up high in the sky after they climb those stairs, a little dark in that shot, but the hatch being closed as they prepare. commander chris hod hatfield, walk us through.
you had more time to sit there and wait before the launch, but these 15 minutes or so, 16, 15 minutes, i would imagine those are going to feel kind of long. >> there's two things going on. one is you've got stuff to do. that's getting all of the things configured right, getting the straps that will hold you securely, getting those done right. getting all your gear in the right place, all the stuff that they rehearsed for, that they trained for. but then suddenly, there's nothing to do. and now all you really have to do is think and imagine about what's going to happen and listen to your heart actually starting to beat faster and faster. our flight surgeons, our doctors, used to come on the loops just to sort of chat and talk with us because they're monitoring our heart. when i flew on the russian rocket on my third space flight, they actually asked us, what music would you like us to play? they tried to find something that would distract and soothe us. that was coming through the headset in those 15 minutes
before launch just to get everybody sort of centered and calm and ready for the violent events that are just about to happen. >> by the way, who closed the hatch door? someone you might recognize, jeff bezos, the one with the wrench, tightening it up. we understand coming up is a pressure test. a lot of tests leading up to launch. wait, i just noticed something there. that h there and the clock counting up means another hold at 15 minutes. you'll remember this is our second hold this morning now in the last hour, held about a half hour or so as they dealt with a vehicle readiness issue. we don't know what's causing this hold here. it's a short one so far. dr. harris, as you watch this, any significance to each of these holds? >> well, you know, i don't know the profile, launch profile of this vehicle, but in the shuttle program which i flew, we had
built-in holds along the way. they allowed us to make sure that the systems were correct, they were used for system checks. so this may be the reason why they're having a hold. i don't know. i guess we'll find out in a few minutes. so all of this in rocketry and launches is sort of a normal process where you have the checks and balances along the way because you want to make sure that things go right. in our world when things go wrong, we call it a bad day. a bad day is one that you may or may not walk from. you want to make sure you get everything right. >> blue origin tweeting final checks are under way. miles, as you're watching this, i'm just thinking to how exciting this must be for you to watch it, knowing how much this means to you and how invested
you are in space and what it could mean moving forward. as we've got these 15 minutes, a little more now, what are you most interested in today with this particular launch, miles? >> well, i'm interested in it being a safe and enjoyable ride, number one. the thrill of seeing bill shatner do this is great. i will point out that there is a character in the star trek series by the name of miles o'brien. i guess they stole my name. i really feel like i should be on board with him as part of the star trek themed launch. somehow my invitation got lost in the mail. each of these flights, inc increm incrementally, as they pull them off safely, we all have some fun with it. each of them leads us to making this more of a truly routine thing, i think. >> by the way, miles, don't try to squeeze in on my very public
campaign. >> i don't know if you've caught that. jim has been hard-pressed the last few days. >> miles clearly deserves it more than me. chris hadfield, you've been on multiple space missions. for folks at home, we're used to flight checks. every time you take off in a commercial airliner, the pilots are running through a flight check. they check for a warning light that is on, et cetera. i just imagine you might say that the flight checks are on steroids for a space flight because it's, by its nature, a higher tech and a more difficult thing to do. >> their launch control team is sitting there -- earlier when we had the vague hold, there's pressurized hydrogen. the molecules are so tiny, it's hard to build seals that will hold, pressurized oxygen. they're looking at how all of those things are functioning as the gases get further down the pipes and closer to the engine.
>> stand by for a moment. special message from mission control to the crew. >> dear travelers, you have probably been playing this moment over and over in thoughts and also quite often in real life in the case of mr. shatner, but now the moment is there, the moment you're really going to space and i can assure you it will be better than your best imagination. no day passes by that we don't look back on this journey without having a smile from ear to ear. have a safe flight and enjoy. greetings from your youngest predecessor, oliver daeman.
"new shepard" astronaut wally funk says i hope this flight will be the most fantastic experience of your life as it was mine take time to enjoy every aspect of this journey from liftoff to touchdown. jeff has done a magnificent job of ensuring the smoothest and most memorable ride. and kevin and sarah are top-notch instructors. becoming part of the blue origin family is an honor like none other i have received. together let's cross new boundaries and set new records. i will be watching your liftoff with great enthusiasm and sending my best wishes. god speed audrey, bill, glen and chris. much love, wally. >> love you wally.
>> "new shepard" astronaut demo whose real name is jeff bezos has this to say. you lucky bastards. [ laughter ] it was only ten weeks ago i was sitting where you are watching the countdown clock full of anticipation and excitement, eager to feel the rumble of liftoff and the majesty of weightlessness. the depth of my desire to fly again is hard to express, so allow me to quote from the classic of the great american song book "mr. space man" with lyrics by william shatner. hey, mr. space man, won't you please take me along. i won't do anything wrong. hey, mr. space man, won't you please take me along for a ride?
god speed "new shepard," i can't wait to hear your stories. mark. >> you're hearing messages there from the members of the last "new shepard" note. oliver daemen who at 18 was the youngest to go up. he said now the moment is there, it will never be better than your best imagination. and wally funk, who at 82 finally achieved her dream of going into space, no longer the oldest person to achieve that. william shatner, of course, at 90. she said it's the most fantastic experience of your life. she was part of a group of female pilots. she ultimately never went. there was so much made of her journey at the time and the
dream that really achieved for her, all of what she had done in her life was really something. we also heard from mark bezos, of course, brother of jeff who said you lucky bastards. clearly a little jealous this morning, jim, enjoyed his trip ten weeks ago. he wants them all to know that he thinks he should be there with them. those messages being sent, being read to this crew as they prepare and as they wait for that launch, jim. >> no question. again, that hold still in place coming up above eight minutes. other than that, the crew is in that capsule there. you can see, i believe that's william shatner through that window there. we're awaiting updates to see if and when it will be taken off hold. while we do await, we'll take a short break. please stay with us. please stay with us. we'll be right back. it sure is. and i earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through chase with chase freedom unlimited.
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how about a throwback? ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪ only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪ live pictures here. we're waiting on the launch for blue origin. these pictures coming out of west texas. you see the clock stopped at exactly 15 minutes. underneath it, you see the hold clock there. this is the second hold we've seen this morning. the clock ticking at about 13 minutes for this particular hold. the first one we were told was due to vehicle readiness checks. we'll see what we learn about this one. waiting for more information from blue origin on that.
the capsule is loaded. the crew is in including, of course, william shatner. there we see mission control essentially. we've been listening in a little bit to their communications as well, jim, as we await more information about that hold. >> back with us, chris hadfield, former commander of the international space station, miles oh brain cnn space analyst, as well as jonathan martin, astrophysicist. we have kristen fisher on the gr ground. the company seemed vague about the previous launch hold, stating the phrase, vehicle readiness. has the company provided any more information about this hold. >> reporter: no new information whatsoever from the company. of course, holds not uncommon, but you have to wonder what exactly the holdup is here. i just can't stop thinking about what it must be like for william
shatner sitting inside this capsule right now. here is one who has spent so much of his life, so much of his life so closely tied to space, yet he's never actually been to space. here he is minutes away from that becoming a reality. when there was this first wind delay, he talked about how much that delay extended his feelings of excitement and shear terror. so you have to imagine those feelings are even more heightened now that he's actually sitting on top of this, essentially what's a controlled explosive about to launch him and three others into space. when they get there, they're going to be going about 62 miles up. william shatner and the other crew members said they wanted to spend their precious four minutes or so of weightlessness with their faces pressed against the windows of this capsule, really taking in the views of planet earth. that is what the crew of this
"new shepard" mission said they hope to do if and when they finally get up into space, if this countdown clock ever starts going again. then they'll fall back down to earth with the assistance, of course, of gravity and the assistance of those three big parachutes. jim, one other very important thing to point out, in addition to a rocket launch which should be going in about 15 minutes if this hold ever stops, we're also going to get to see a booster landing which was once described as one of the rarest of beasts, just until a few years ago, this is something that was truly the stuff of science fiction, much like captain kirk and star trek and the starship enterprise. and now, one more example of science fiction becoming reality with companies like blue origins and elon musk's spacex coming up with this incredible technology to reuse these boosters, to land them back on planet earth and
ultimately make space flight much more affordable for everyday people and everyday customers, jim. >> kristin fisher, we should note the company has not explained the reason for this second delay, as they did not provide much detail on the first. erica, as we've noted, it's a private company, not subject to the same standards that we would see from nasa in a similar situation. >> it's true, but it makes for a different experience as you're watching this. miles, if we think about other launches -- i'm remembering the final shuttle launch which i was lucky enough to cover, you think about the communication you do have and the window you have that comes from the audio you hear. this is yet another reminder of just how different this space exploration, this private space exploration is, miles. >> it's hard to be a space reporter these days. at the risk of sounding like the old guy on the porch, in my day we used to know some things.
i remember after i left cnn i was on the nasa advisory council for a little while, and i was pushing nasa to insist that spacex and elon musk opened the doors a little more to data and to the flight loops, as we call it, the communications among the team in advance of the launches because those launches, after all, are paid for by taxpayers. in this case today, there's no taxpayer money involved in this launch at all and jeff bezos can release as much or as little information as he likes. maybe reporters need to get prime access to information for extra money? i don't know. >> that's a fair point. by the way, this may be notable. the vehicles you see going away from the launch site there, we've been just been told that the tower crew has left the launch site there, may be significant. there you go. the hold appears to have been lifted. we're back to t minus below 15
minutes for the launch. the second hold on this launch lifted now. commander hadfield, i don't want to jinx anything, because other questions could come up between now and then, but this is progress. tell us the significance of that, and does it look likely that the launch will go off? >> whenever you see a hold that's at an even number, like 15 minutes, then you know it's a planned hold. what they were waiting for, just like for my two space shuttle launches, you have to wait for the closeout crew to get back in their vehicle and get away so that if the rocket explodes, they'll be safe. you can see the trucks pulled over on the wide concrete apron. today it took 15 minutes to do the final closeout. the important part is the clock is now ticking through 14 minutes. in 14 minutes my buddy bill, captain kirk, is about to go to
space. i'm really with him mentally. what a cool experience for such a guy. >> your buddy bill, for folks just joining us, you two go back a little ways. you communicated as you were up at the iss. you were texting leading up to this launch. he said he's a little terrified. he's comfortable, but uncomfortable. how do you think he's feeling in this moment? >> if he wasn't uncomfortable and slightly terrified, then he just wouldn't know what was going on. what's really about to happen is an enormous bomb is going to ignite underneath him, but it's a bomb that we've learned how to control so that the energy comes out over a two-minute period out the nozzles, out the back, if you're sitting with three new friends sitting on a bomb waiting and trusting engineers that you've never met to have done the math right, of course
he's going to be a little worried. at some point you've got to go, okay, this is about to happen. i'm along for the ride and i'm going to put a bunch of nose marks on the window. bill is thinking how am i going to get out of my seat on time and make the most and maybe do a couple flips in weightlessness. he's probably got all those little gremlins of thoughts running around his 90-year-old mind right now. >> it's a great point about the technology, the super technology of space. this is a controlled -- a sustained controlled explosion over many minutes to get the rocket up there. you mentioned his friends, william shatner's friends. i want to get your impressions of them, jonathan mcdowell, because i had to interrupt you as we go updates from mission control. audrey powers now involved directly in the safety protocols. dr. chris boshuizen works for
planet labs and glen de vries. astroph astrophysicists know each other. tell us why you know the other members of the crew? >> the great thing about the space community these days is that people do know each other. there's a whole generation that grew up with chris and audrey who networked early in their careers and were inspired by the earlier generations of astronauts like chris and bernard, and so they had this vision of really transforming space travel, making this new era where satellites are cheaper, launches are cheaper and ordinary people might be able to go to space. so i think that everyone is -- feels part of a family in that respect. so they've been raring to go all their lives. now they're managing to do this,
we feel like we're a bit along with them. the last-minute holds, they're frustrating. they go back to the beginning of the space age where alan schepp herd was saying to mission control, let's light this candle. i think that's what they're feeling right now, let's light this candle and get on our ride that we've been preparing all our lives for. >> kristin, you were pointing out earlier that in the u.s. this will make for six -- six crewed launches in the last six months, and that's an important milestone as we're looking more at private companies and space exploration and how the industry -- how the game, frankly, is changing. >> reporter: it's just remarkable how quickly it has all come together. for people who don't follow this closely, it's like, wow, this
just came out of nowhere. this is a moment, this year, 2021, is a moment that the commercial space industry has really been building towards for decades. spacex, blue origin, they've both been around for almost 20 years, and now within literally the last year for blue origin, just the last three months they are finally really beginning to send nasa astronauts in spacex's case and paying customers in blue origin's case up into space. so you heard chris, one of the crew members on this flight talk about how he really felt like it was not fair to call this crew tourists. he said we still believe we are pioneers because we're at the very beginning of this new wave of space tourism. make no mistake, he believes that 2021 is the year that is going to go down in history as the year when humanity really began stepping off this planet en masse or at scale.
it's just the very beginning of it, but it is a very important milestone. you also have, you know, what we just saw -- actually i believe we're beginning the final checks right now if you guys want to hear them, mission control going through all the various systems. >> we're going to listen in to those right now from mission control. >> as you heard it, we are go for launch, go for second human flight. >> there we heard it, go for launch, jim. >> i think i heard william shatner saying something to the effect of i guess we're ready to go. listen, they're about to rocket into space in excess of 2,200 miles an hour. they're going to go 62 miles high. chris hadfield, commander hadfield, we have the advantage of speaking to someone who has experienced that very force.
i felt butterflies. what are the butterflies like in a launch? >> they take you over. i felt so aware and so excited. i had gotten over the fear part of it years before. this was a thing i was definitely going to do, now my job was to get good at it. on that moment you're hyper aware. you know the moments in your life when something really significant is happening and you're on super record mode because everything you think about, none of them are thinking about paying their taxes or their car insurance or what they're going to do a week from tuesday. right now their whole existence is the next 15 minutes of their lives. you're tingling with the excitement of it and the anticipation of it and the palpable danger of it. i had stuff to do helping to fly the space shuttle, but these folks, they are -- they're
sitting by their window anticipating this event, along for an amazing ride. >> dr. bernard harris, former nasa astronaut was with us as well a short time ago, uk tag about as you're waiting in this moment, even songs played to pump you up. commander hadfield, was there a certain tune? >> i'm canadian like bill shatner. i grew up with gordon lightfoot, "if you could read my mind." i was lying in on my back, the same launch pad as yuri gagarin. it was soothing for me. >> i hope someone is thinking
"rocket man." you have to imagine. miles o'brien, t under six minutes to launch. describe what happens in the next less than six minutes here? >> we're going to unleash a lot of power from the liquid hide engine and oxygen. the fuel is quite volatile. when you think about what rockets do, they take the coldest thing we know of which is liquid hydrogen, run it through a bunch of turbo pumps that are hyper fast, can fill up swimming pools in the blink of an eye and then turn that in to f fire. all of that is happening in short order in a short, confined space. when you start to think about that, you wonder how that happens at all. if i'm bill shatner, i'm not trying to think too much about that. it's much easier to fly in the enterprise which was a cardboard
model. i've got to say one word here about the intersection of hollywood and reality here. for years and years and years, people would come and visit nasa and say, so where is the zero gravity room and why don't you go at warp speed? in other words, the reality never was as good as what we saw on the silver screen. here we're having the confluence point where hollywood meets reality and the reality is still a long way behind warp speed. we saw a week or so ago when the inspiration 4 crew went to space, one of the crew members was sick for most of the occasion, the toilet didn't work so well. it's not as utopian as star trek. reality meets hollywood here and we're still trying to have the realities catch up to the science fiction vision. having shatner at this pivot
point, maybe that will change the trajectory. >> we're now under four minutes if my eyes have not failed me. kristin, taking what miles was just saying about how different this is from what people would imagine, how a doctor feels from a medical show, this is still a really important moment, and i find it interesting that these last two flights are breaking their own records. we had wally funk at 82 who was the oldest. we have william shatner at 90. how much of that interest is coming from the way that these launches have been crewed? >> reporter: i think it's very deliberate, right? these billionaire owners of these companies, elon musk, jeff bezos, they are acutely aware of the criticism that has been coming their way from much of the population, accusing them of
going on these joy rides into space and taking money from these very wealthy patrons. william shatner will get a lot of people excited, someone like willy funk who so deserved a seat on there as one of those mercury 13 astronauts, so to speak, who never got to fly in space. jeff bezos, i believe, very aware of the criticism that's coming his way. he believes, along with elon musk and richard branson, that they are doing something that is ultimately going to better all of human kind. it's just these very wealthy patrons they believe have to pave the way. >> one measure of the fact that this is a business, as we approach t minus two minutes to launch is all the various ways to observe it. this is a drone shot around -- this is a company that wants to show it as it happens.
what's happening right now, i think you can see it there in this shot, is the tower connection to the capsule, to the rocket, is being pulled back. these are all part of the rocket's built-in checks and steps pre launch, again as we approach just about 1:30 here. commander hadfield, what's happening inside that capsule right now as these final checks go into place? >> all eight eyeballs have -- this is for real now. this is no longer talking about it. this is opening night. so everybody is watching that and recognizing, wow, i've got one minute left on earth. hopefully everything is about to go well. >> let's listen in to mission control as we go through the final in three, two, one. t minus one minute. >> you can see slightly there
>> -- has cleared the tower. she's on her space with the second human space flight crew. what a launch. we are on our way to -- the first milestone on its flight to space. you can follow along with the altimeter at the base of the screen as well as the speedometer. they're gaining speed on their climb to space. we confirmed max q, when the aerodynamic stresses on the vehicle were at their maximu m.
an altitude. we're aiming just over the carmen line, the internationally recognized line of space of 100 kilometers, about 328,000 feet, and a gorgeous view down the rocket. now we've had main engine cutoff, the be 3 engine shus off. in just a moment we'll separate the capsule from the booster. at that point our astronauts will have an opportunity to get out of their harnesses and enjoy the beauties of zero g. let's wait to listen . there you can see a clean separation between the capsule and the booster.
there you can see the capsule from the top of the booster. they're continuing their ascent over the carmen line. you'll know when they've hit apogee when the speed hits zero. there they are, over 328,000 feet, over 100 kilometers. welcome to space, the newest astronauts on board our crew capsule. there they are. they are just about hit sthar
>> thank you again everybody from joining us live from west texas. so far a phenomenal flight for our second human crew. so exciting, jackie, to have sent captain kirk himself, william shatner, to space. i cannot wait to hear his commentary upon return as well as our two customers, chris boshuizen from australia as well as glen devries and our very own audrey powers. they're coming back home. the booster is going to beat the capsule back home. it is more aerodynamically shaped, of course, at the base of the capsule. it's less aerodynamic. what we're going to see coming up shortly is at the top of the rocket, we have the ring fin. what we call the pie fins that extend from the ring fin as well as the drag -- the pie fins, the wedge fins help stabilize the
vehicle, kind of like the feathers at the back of an arrow. you'll also see the drag bricks. as you mentioned, jackie, it cuts the velocity dramatically. there you can see the wedge fins are ou t . >> here we see the descent, we'll expect the engine to relight, about 1,200 meters above ground level. the ground bricks have deployed. here we come "new shepard. "
>> and touchdown. welcome back "new shepard." the fourth flight back and forth for that vehicle, provided a beautiful flight to space for our second human crew. wow, that gets me every time. we do this live down here in texas t sonic boom is so cool. drag brakes are folding back in as have the wedge fins. just looks like you could fuel her up and go again. >> even when you know to expect the sonic boom, it still catches you off guard every time. >> talk about a rumble. a beautiful sight of our "new shepard" rocket there in the west texas desert. but, of course, the show is not over. the cap assume is descending.
we're waiting for first the drogue shoot to deploy. those are like the guide parachutes. they will subsequently be followed by the main parachutes that will first wreath and then fully inflate. there go the drogue parachutes . and here come the mains. what a flight. you can already start to hear the cheers from outside our stage here in west texas .
ever feel again. >> and capsule touchdown. welcome back, the newest astronauts, audrey powers, william shatner, our customers glen devries and chris boshiuzen. i can't wait to talk to them, what a clean and beautiful flight from the rocket for our astronauts. >> what an absolutely stunning flight. i loved hearing that audio of them on their way back about how the experience was for them. i can't wait to hear their stories. >> you heard william shatner say this is like nothing i've ever experienced before