actor William Shatner is set to boldly go where no 90-year-old has before when he blasts off to space. HERE Star Trek actor William Shatner is set to boldly go where no 90-year-old has before when he blasts off to . The Canadian – who will forever be known to the sci-fi show’s legion of Trekkies as Captain James Tiberius Kirk – will launch from the company’s West Texas base at 9 am (1 am AEDT), after a day’s delay due to high winds. He will be joined on the New Shepard rocket by executive Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, and Glen De Vries, a co-founder of the clinical research platform Medidata Solutions.
The crew’s roughly 11-minute hop beyond the Karman Line – 100 kilometers into the air, just beyond Earth’s atmosphere – and back down again with a parachute landing in the desert is a replay of Blue’s maiden human flight in July. That trip, which included company owner, was a breakthrough moment for the nascent space tourism sector. , nearly all attention will be focused on Shatner, who at 90 will become the oldest-ever astronaut, despite an appearance that suggests a man who could be decades younger. The intergalactic voyages of the Star Trek Enterprise ship, commanded by Captain Kirk, helped attention to the stars as the US space program was in its infancy.
“Captain Kirk… represents ‘the final frontier’ perhaps more thanfor a couple of different generations of people, in the US and worldwide,” screenwriter and Star Trek historian Marc Cushman said. Shatner, who’s also known for his , among many others, has spoken about having a difficult relationship with Star Trek and its fan culture. But in , the actor has leaned into the fame his most famous rol brought aboute. “It looks like there’s a great deal of curiosity in this fictional character, Captain Kirk,” he said in a video released by Blue Origin. “Let’s go along with it and enjoy the ride.”
Meanwhile, a second mission in less than three months for Blue Origin represents another step forward as it tries to establish itself as space tourism’s leading player. Boshuizen and Vries will bring the company’s total number of paying customers to three – though prices haven’t been disclosed. Virgin Galactic, which offers a similar experience of a few minutes of weightlessness and a view of the Earth’s curvature from the cosmos, in July, a few days before Bezos. And in September, SpaceX sent four private citizens on a three-day trip whizzing around the planet – an altogether more ambitious but likely far more expensive endeavor. “We’re just at the beginning – but how miraculous that beginning is, how extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning,” said Shatner in his . Shatner’s voyage is a fitting coda for a pop culture phenomenon that inspired generations of astronauts, scientists, and engineers for many space enthusiasts.