•  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

The Guardian reported that William Shatner, who is better known for playing the fearless commander of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, will visit space in real life. It’ll be the second crewed mission for Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket since its first launch in July. 

William Shatner
Shatner, second left, with his New Shepard rocket colleagues Chris Boshuizen, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries. The rocket will lift off at 8.30am Texas time. Photograph: AP

The successful completion of the 11-minute flight alongside three civilian crew mates, with lift-off of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket scheduled for 8.30am CT (2.30pm BST) from its Van Horn, Texas, launchpad, would make Shatner, 90, the oldest human to fly into space.

It also marks the second attempted crewed flight of the rocket system that lifted Bezos, the 57-year-old Amazon founder and world’s richest man, his brother Mark, and two other passengers, 66.5 miles into space in July.

Bezos’ first tourist flight appeared to be the second due to his billionaire rival Sir Richard Branson. Branson travelled into space aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity nine days earlier than Jeff Bezos, becoming the first person to solemnly cut the ribbon to a new niche on the market. But, these two are struggling to catch up with the third billionaire Elon Musk of SpaceX, to offer regular trips off the planet for fare paying passengers.

Canadian Shatner, who will assume the mantle of oldest space traveler from Wally Funk, an 82-year-old who flew with Bezos, said he expected the toughest part of the flight to be climbing into his seat.

“The only thing about age that has application to this particular vehicle is getting in and out of the seat with any kind of arthritis,” the actor best known as Star Trek’s Captain James Kirk told reporters on Monday.

“So unless you’re really supple, getting in and out of the seats in weight, when we’re in gravity, is a chore. But of course it’s designed [for us] to float out of the seat, in weightlessness.”

Today’s flight, the 18th flight overall for the capsule named for Alan Shepard, the first American in space in 1961, was pushed back a day from Tuesday because of strong winds.

The three other passengers are Audrey Powers, a Blue Origin executive; Chris Boshuizen, a former Nasa engineer and founder of the satellite earth imaging company Planet Labs; and Glen de Vries, chief executive of the clinical research firm Medidata Solutions.

The New Shepard rocket-capsule combo will lift off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One, near the West Texas town of Van Horn, at 9 a.m. local time (10 a.m. EDT; 1400 GMT). A live webcast of the mission will begin about 90 minutes before liftoff, and you can watch it live in the window above, courtesy of Blue Origin. The webcast will also stream live on Bue Origin’s website and on YouTube.

0
0