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'Hundreds of thousands, if not millions' will be able to access space: Expert

·Markets Reporter
·2 min read
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Star Trek icon William Shatner is ready for takeoff on Blue Origin's mission to the edge of space set for Wednesday morning. 

Shatner, 90, will become the oldest person to reach space, about 62 miles above Earth. The actor known for his role as Captain Kirk on Star Trek will be joined by three other civilians on the roughly 11-minute journey aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard capsule. 

“Like any other new industry, you will have the early adopters,” Space Advisors managing partner and "Space Is Open for Business" author Robert Jacobson told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday. 

“We’re one step closer to a more main-stream accessibility for a human space experience," he added. 

Oscar host Seth MacFarlane watches William Shatner on a screen during the opening segment of the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 24, 2013.    REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES  - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)  (OSCARS-SHOW)
Oscar host Seth MacFarlane watches William Shatner on a screen during the opening segment of the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The other passengers on board include Audrey Powers, Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations. She will be joined by Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs (currently known as Planet). Glen de Vries, co-founder of Medidata Solutions, a software for clinical trials company, will also be on board. 

The mission, dubbed NS-18, will have no pilot since the capsule is fully automated. This will be the second voyage carrying passengers to the edge of space on New Shepard. Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos took part in the first one in July.

Blue Origin has not revealed the price for its seats on New Shepard, while competitor Virgin Galactic's (SPCE) tickets for its sub-orbital flights cost $450,000. 

SpaceX recently launched an all civilian crew into orbit on a 3 day journey last month. SpaceX is seen by far as the most advanced of the private space companies headed by billionaires. 

Reusability is key in order to bring down the cost of voyages in the future. 

"There will be an opportunity, where many more people, we're talking potentially hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people potentially in our lifetime be able to access space through these new platforms," said Jacobson. 

NS-18 liftoff is set for 8:30 a.m. local time from Van Horn, Texas. The journey will be broadcast on Blue Origin's YouTube channel, and Yahoo Finance will also stream it live.

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