Wiliam Shatner, the legendary Star Trek actor and Captain Kirk himself, is off to space today bravely travel where an increasing number of citizens have already gone. However, the 90-year-old actor, who will be the world’s oldest astronaut, is plainly ecstatic, and we cannot blame him. “I’ve been hearing about space for quite some time. I am taking advantage of the opportunity to witness it firsthand. In a statement, the actor exclaimed, “What a miracle.”
Shatner will become the first civilian “rocket man” to journey to space, courtesy to an invitation from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and will launch on the New Shepherd rocket today at 9:00 a.m. EDT (2:00 p.m. UTC) after the trip was postponed from yesterday due to wind conditions in Texas. Shatner’s mission, which comes three months after Bezos’s own trip to space and marks Blue Origin’s first-ever crewed flight, is a bit of a PR triumph for the space company, which is currently dealing with sexism allegations from current and former employees, as well as safety concerns.
At a Comic-Con panel discussion in New York last week, Shatner admitted to being “terrified,” referencing the 1986 Challenger accident. “I’m scared to death. I am Captain Kirk, and I am scared to death. I am not scared – although I am… Like a summer cold, it comes and passes “According to Shatner. “Once I’m in space, I’m planning on pressing my nose against the window, and my only hope is that no one else will be staring back.”
Shatner, on the other hand, appeared to be more concerned with getting in and out of the seats. On Monday, Shatner informed reporters that the only thing about getting older that applies to this car is getting in and out of the seat with any kind of pain.
“Getting in and out of the seats in weight, when we’re in gravity, is a bother unless you’re incredibly supple.” But, of course, it’s intended for us to float out of the seat, weightless.” Shatner will not only be the first sci-fi actor to leave the atmosphere, defeating Mercury 13 icon Wally Funk, who at 82 and another Blue Origin guest previously held the record, but he will also be the oldest person to ever go to space.
Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs, Glen de Vries of French software company Dassault Systèmes, and Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations and a former NASA flight controller, will join him.
The trip will last around 11 minutes, reaching a height of roughly 106 kilometers (66 miles), and will involve a brief period of microgravity, allowing the actor to feel what it is like to be in space firsthand. The launch will take place from Launch Site One in West Texas, and you can watch it live on the Blue Origin website or YouTube page.
If Russia had not already launched the world’s first film crew, including actor and director, to the ISS to begin filming the first feature-length movie in orbit, Shatner would have been the first actor in space. It is going to be rather crowded up there, especially with Tom Cruise said to be in line for a movie in space as well.