- William Shatner, actor in Star Trek: The Next Generation will travel to space Wednesday.
- Although the launch had been scheduled for Tuesday, it was delayed by high winds forecasted at the launch site.
- Shatner, 90 years old, will be the oldest person to have flown in space.
Captain Kirk will embark on his true-life starship.
Actor William Shatner, who is best known for his role in the original “Star Trek” series and the first six films in the “Star Trek” movie franchise, is set to take flight Wednesday on a New Shepard rocket from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site.
“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.”
Although the launch was originally scheduled for Tuesday, high winds caused a delay of 24 hours. This is all we know so far about the highly-anticipated mission, NS-18.
Original storyBlue Origin Announces William Shatner, Star Trek’s William Shatner will become the oldest person to reach space.
What time is it?
It is currently scheduled to depart at 10:00 a.m. ET Wednesday morning, which is a day earlier than initially planned.
The trip should last just 10 minutes, with the fully automated capsule reaching a maximum altitude of about 66 miles before parachuting back into the desert.
A statement on Blue Origin’s website added that New Shepard NS-18 has met all mission requirements and the astronauts are prepared through training. “Weather is the only gating factor for the launch window,” according to the statement, which is signed with the company motto “Gradatim Ferociter” (Latin for “step by step, ferociously”).
Viewers can watch the launch live at the Blue Origin’s website or the Blue Origin YouTube channel.
William Shatner: Who are you?
The 90-year-old actor is best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in the “Star Trek” franchise and has been acting for six decades. He is also known for his roles in “T.J. Hooker,” Rescue 911, and “The Practice.” Shatner, in addition to acting, is the host of The UnXplained on The History Channel. This series explores mysterious worlds, including aliens.
Shatner stated in a October 4 press release that “I have heard of space since a very long time,” “I am taking this opportunity to witness it myself. This is a miracle.
Shatner, at 82 years old, will make history by becoming the oldest spaceflight pilot. He has also surpassed Wally Funk who flew on Blue Origin in July with Bezos. She’s an accomplished pilot with more than 18,600 flight hours under her belt.
While Shatner has expressed excitement for the launch, he admitted he is also nervous to go to space.
“I am terrified!” he said during New York Comic Con Thursday, according to Space.com. “I know !… I’m Captain Bloody Kirk, and I’m scared!”
Wally FunkMercury 13’s Wally Funk will be going into space with Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin crew and Jeff Bezos
InterviewWilliam Shatner considers Star Trek’s cancellation ‘a low moment in my life.
Captain Kirk is joined by who?
Along with Shatner, the spaceflight passengers in Blue Origin’s second human spaceflight include Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations Audrey Powers, a former NASA engineer and tech entrepreneur Chris Boshuizen and the founder of a clinical trials software company Glen de Vries.
“I’m so proud and humbled to fly on behalf of Team Blue, and I’m excited to continue writing Blue’s human spaceflight history,” Powers said in a Blue Origin news release.
De Vries expressed his excitement over the launch by sharing a Twitter video.
He said, “Space technology will be a means to help us continue our success on Earth by reaching out beyond it.”
Blue Origin, what is it?
Blue Origin was founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2000. The company’s only human spaceflight to date launched on July 20, when it flew Bezos, Bezos’ brother Mark, Mercury 13 aviator Funk and 18-year-old student Oliver Daemen (son of a hedge fund manager) to suborbital space.
Within minutes the group flew off the West Texas desert to reach space, landing in smooth parachute landings and then returning to Earth.
“Best day ever,” Jeff Bezos said after touchdown, greeted by a sea of cheering Blue Origin employees and others at the company’s campus.
This was 16th flight for New Shepard, the 60-foot rocket designed primarily for space tourism, but the first to include people. Blue Origin will be flying two additional flights in 2018, according to Bezos. Private seats for his flights have been sold at close to $100 million.
Contributing: Rob Landers Florida Today, Marcia Dunn, Associated Press Martha Pskowski El Paso Times, John Bacon, Emre Kelly USA TODAY