Because of his fear of flying, William Shatner turned down a Virgin Galactic spaceflight ten years ago.
William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise, allegedly turned down a spaceflight opportunity because he was afraid of flying.
The 90-year-old Canadian actor has apparently overcome his worries, as he is scheduled to launch into space with Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin on Wednesday afternoon.
The launch will take place from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in Texas at roughly 10 a.m. EDT. Three other passengers will travel with Shatner: Audrey Powers, a Blue Origin mission expert; Glen de Vries, co-founder of clinical research platform Medidata Solutions; and Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Planet, an Earth-observation company.
However, if Shatner had accepted an offer from Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin business conglomerate and its space tourism branch Virgin Galactic, he could have gotten to the heavens much sooner.
Branson allegedly approached Shatner in 2013 and asked if he wanted to go to space on one of the company’s new spaceplanes, the SpaceShipTwo, which had just made its first powered flight at the time. It would take another five years for the business to reach space.
Shatner, though, reportedly rejected in 2011 because he was afraid of flying and didn’t want to pay, according to British daily The Sun and other stories at the time.
“He actually claimed he’s afraid of aircraft travel—which is slightly disillusioning; Captain Kirk is afraid of flying,” Branson told The Sun.
It was also stated that Shatner refused to pay the $170,000 flight bill, and was quoted as saying in 2011: “‘Hey, you pay me, and I’ll go’… but he didn’t pick me up on my offer.”
Virgin Galactic has been asked for comment by Washington Newsday.
In any event, Virgin Galactic’s first fully crewed mission did not take place until July of this year, just days before Blue Origin’s first crewed spaceflight.
Blue Origin announced on October 4 that Shatner would be joining the crew of the company’s second flight. In a statement, the actor stated, “I’ve heard about space for a long time now.” “I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to experience it firsthand. What a miracle it was.” Even still, it appears that Shatner’s has not been fully rattled. This is a condensed version of the information.