‘Star Trek’ actor William Shatner says he is ready to get to space for real.
A new video from Blue Origin follows the 90-year-old’s thoughts as he gets ready for a suborbital venture to space, expected to take place no earlier than Wednesday (Oct. 13). The video also sounds like Shatner isn’t as “terrified” as he acknowledged he was feeling about the upcoming flight, a few days ago.
“I’m going up to space; I don’t know how many people can say that,” Shatner said in opening the video. (He is expected to be the oldest person to fly, after Mercury 13 aviator Wally Funk broke the record on another Blue Origin flight in July, at age 82.)
You can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of Blue Origin, or directly via the company’s YouTube. The webcast will begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT).
Live Updates: William Shatner’s Blue Origin launch on New Shepard
Related: Star Trek movies, ranked worst to best
The real-life number of people who have been to space stands at less than 600, the vast majority of them being professional agency astronauts. But Shatner represents part of a small, yet growing population of non-professional spaceflyers, most of whom paid lots of money for the opportunity.
Blue Origin hasn’t yet disclosed how much one of its New Shepard flight seats go for, but it’s likely quite a bit given that competitor Virgin Galactic just reopened its own manifest for $450,000 per person.
“We are just at the beginning, but how miraculous the beginning is.” @WilliamShatner is ready to go to space. #NS18 pic.twitter.com/u3MnOAbWtWOctober 12, 2021
Shatner said his 11-minute flight to the edge of space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft will be “life-changing, not because of the aerial adventure, but because of the people I’m meeting and talking to.” He also acknowledged the number of people he has come across who are fascinated by his fictional counterpart, Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
“Star Trek” has been a notable influence on professional astronauts, with some having appeared on the show over the years. While the franchise the 1960s show engendered covers futuristic spaceflight largely centuries from the present day, Shatner himself said he is pleased to be a part of the start of what could be more space tourism, since Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin just started crewed flights this year.
“We’re just at the beginning, and how miraculous the beginning is, and how extraordinary it is to be part of this beginning,” Shatner said. He noted there is a “mystique” of space and that he will look forward to the view from his window.
“There is an adventure in my life I would not have had if I had not done this,” Shatner says near the video’s end. Joining him on that spaceflight will be Blue Origin’s Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, and Glen de Vries, co-founder of clinical research software platform Medidata Solutions (now Dassault Systèmes).
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Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for Space.com who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.