William Shatner on cusp of blasting into space


Actor William Shatner counted down Wednesday to his wildest role yet: riding a rocket into space, courtesy of Star Trek fan Jeff Bezos.

Best known for his role as Captain Kirk, the 90-year-old Shatner joined three other passengers for the planned launch from West Texas at 10 a.m. ET.

Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin, invited Shatner on the brief jaunt to the fringes of the final frontier, which will make him the oldest person in space.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket sits on the landing pad after carrying passengers Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, brother Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk, from its spaceport near Van Horn, Texas on July 20, 2021. Blue Origin’s next flight takes off Wednesday morning. (Tony Gutierrez/The Associated Press)

It will be Blue Origin’s second passenger flight, using the same capsule and rocket that Bezos used for his own launch three months ago. The trip should last just 10 minutes, with the fully automated capsule reaching a maximum altitude of about 106 kilometres before parachuting back into the desert.

Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson kicked off the U.S.-based space tourism boom on July 11, riding his own rocketship to space. Bezos followed nine days later aboard his own capsule. Elon Musk stayed behind as his SpaceX company launched its first private flight last month, sending a billionaire, cancer survivor and two ticket winners into orbit.

This undated photo made available by Blue Origin in October 2021 shows, from left, Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries. Their launch scheduled for Wednesday will be Blue Origin’s second passenger flight. (Blue Origin/The Associated Press)

And last week, the Russians sent an actor and film director to the International Space Station for movie-making.

“We’re just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is. How extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning,” Shatner said in a Blue Origin video posted on the eve of his flight. “It looks like there’s a great deal of curiosity about this fictional character, Captain Kirk, going into space. So let’s go along with it and enjoy the ride.”

Rounding out the crew: a Blue Origin vice-president and two entrepreneurs who bid unsuccessfully for a seat on the previous flight with Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Blue Origin did not divulge their ticket prices.

Bezos was at the expansive launch and landing site near Van Horn, Texas, to see the four off.



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Written by bourbiza

bourbiza is an entertainment reporter for iltuoiphone News and is based in Los Angeles.

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