With Blue Origin, Star Trek’s William Shatner is heading into space.
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.
Captain James Tiberius Kirk, the Canadian who will forever be known as Captain James Tiberius Kirk to the legion of “Trekkies” who love the sci-fi show, will take out from the company’s West Texas facility at 9:30 a.m. (1430 GMT).
The countdown was delayed for about 30 minutes for final inspections, delaying the launch by a few minutes.
Blue Origin executive Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, an Australian national, and Glen de Vries of clinical research platform Medidata Solutions will accompany Shatner aboard the New Shepard rocket.
As the crew members made their way up the launch tower and into the spaceship, company founder Jeff Bezos was on hand to meet them.
The flight will last around 11 minutes and will take the crew beyond the Karman Line, a 62-mile-high (100-kilometer-high) international space barrier, before the capsule floats back to Earth on parachutes for a peaceful landing in the desert.
It’s a reenactment of the company’s first human voyage, which included Bezos and was hailed as a watershed moment for the fledgling space tourism industry.
This time, nearly 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 began, the cosmic adventures of the USS Enterprise, commanded by Captain Kirk, served to focus American attention on the stars.
“For a couple of generations of people in the US and around the world, Captain Kirk… embodies ‘the final frontier’ possibly more than anyone else,” screenwriter and Trek historian Marc Cushman told AFP.
Shatner, who is best known for playing lawyer Denny Crane in “Boston Legal,” among other roles, has previously commented about his often tense relationship 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 stated in a video produced by Blue Origin.
“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 increase the firm’s overall number of paying employees. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.