Star Trek’s William Shatner is heading to the stars with Blue Origin.
When “Star Trek” actor William Shatner blasts off to space on Blue Origin’s second crewed mission on Wednesday, he will boldly go where no 90-year-old has gone before.
After a day’s delay owing to high winds, the Canadian — who will forever be known as Captain James Tiberius Kirk to the sci-fi show’s army of “Trekkies” — will launch from the company’s West Texas site at 9 a.m. (1400 GMT).
Blue Origin CEO Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, and Glen de Vries, a co-founder of clinical research platform Medidata Solutions, will join him on the New Shepard rocket.
The crew’s 11-minute trip over the Karman Line — 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth’s atmosphere — and back down to the desert with a parachute landing is a repeat of Blue’s first human flight in July.
That expedition, which featured Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, was hailed as a watershed moment for the nascent space tourism industry.
This time, practically all eyes will be on Shatner, who, at 90, will become the world’s oldest astronaut, despite his appearance, which suggests he is decades younger.
As the US space program was in its infancy, the cosmic excursions of the “Star Trek” Enterprise ship, commanded by Captain Kirk, helped turn American attention to the stars.
“Captain Kirk… represents ‘the final frontier’ possibly more than anyone else for a couple of generations of people, in the United States and around the world,” scriptwriter and “Star Trek” historian Marc Cushman told AFP.
Shatner, who is also recognized for his appearances as lawyer Denny Crane in “Boston Legal” and other roles, has previously expressed his dissatisfaction with “Star Trek” and its fan culture.
However, in recent years, the actor has leaned into the celebrity that his most famous role has afforded him.
“It appears that this imaginary character, Captain Kirk, has a tremendous degree of interest,” he remarked in a video posted by Blue Origin on Tuesday. “Let’s just go with the flow and enjoy the journey.” Meanwhile, for Blue Origin, a second voyage in less than three months is another step ahead in its efforts to establish itself as the industry’s top player in space tourism.
Boshuizen and Vries will raise the company’s total number of paying customers to three, however no pricing information has been released.
There’s a fierce battle going on.
Virgin Galactic, which gives a similar weightlessness and perspective of the Earth’s surface experience. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.