Next week, Captain Kirk will be rocketing into space — bravely going where no other sci fi actors have gone.
Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’s space travel company, announced Monday that William Shatner, the “Star Trek” actor, will launch from West Texas on October 12.
The 90-year old tweeted, “Yes, it is true! I’m going be a rocket man!” He said, “It’s never too early to try new things.”
Bezos, founder of Amazon, is a big fan of sci-fi and even played a part as an alien in “Star Trek Beyond” (2016). His rocket company invited Shatner as its guest.
Shatner will be the oldest person to travel to space. Three other people, two of which are paying customers, will join him aboard the Blue Origin capsule. If Russia hadn’t sent an actress and a director to the International Space Station Tuesday for nearly two weeks of filmmaking, he would have been the first space actor.
Shatner’s flight will take just 10 minutes, and travel no more than 66 miles (106 km) in total. The capsule will return to the desert floor by parachute, just a few miles from its point of origin.
Space tourism is gaining momentum fast, whether you’re looking for flights long or short.
Virgin Galactic took Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, to the edge and back with five other people in July. Bezos’ space hop followed nine days later. SpaceX’s Elon Musk purchased the three-day flight from a Pennsylvania entrepreneur and brought along two contest winners as well as a survivor of cancer.
Virgin Galactic’s ship can launch from an airplane, and it requires two pilots. Blue Origin’s and SpaceX capsules can be fully automated. However, passengers must undergo medical screenings to ensure they are able to climb several flights of steps at SpaceX’s launch tower in order to access the capsule.
This will be Blue Origin’s second crew launch.
Bezos took part in the inaugural flight on July 20, Bezos brought along his brother Wally Funk, an 18 year-old Dutchman, and Wally Funk, an 82-year old aviation pioneer — who are the youngest and most experienced to fly in space. Shatner will surpass that threshold by eight years.
“I have heard of space for a while now. I am taking this opportunity to experience it myself. “What a miracle,” Shatner stated in a statement.
Shatner was the commander of the USS Starship Enterprise for three seasons from 1966 to 1969. He directed one of seven movies in which he played Captain Kirk. He is currently the host and executive producers of “The UnXplained”, a History Channel program.
Shatner was also flying with him: an ex-NASA engineer, who co-founded a company that makes nanosatellite technology and a company that develops software for clinical research. They both bid for a place on the first flight. The seat was $28 million. Blue Origin has not disclosed any other prices.
Blue Origin’s vice-president of mission and flight operations will be taking a fourth seat on this flight.
Blue Origin was accused by more than 20 former and current employees of creating a hostile work environment and failing to adhere to safety protocols. Blue Origin stated that it does not tolerate harassment or discrimination, and stands by its safety record.
Bezos’ firm is also challenging the NASA contract awarded to SpaceX to provide a lunar lander to return astronauts to orbit in just a few years. Blue Origin failed to win the job.