More than 50 years after making his debut as beloved Captain James T. Kirk in the original series of “Star Trek”, William Shatner will bravely go to the edge of space.
The 90-year-old actor is scheduled to launch on Wednesday aboard a rocket and capsule developed by Blue Origin, the private space company founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. If successful, the joyride will make Shatner the oldest human to reach space.
“I’ve heard of space for a long time,” he said in a statement released earlier this month. “I take the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle. “
Shatner and three other crew members – Audrey Powers, Blue Origin Vice President of Mission and Operations, and two paying customers, Glen de Vries and Chris Boshuizen – will take Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket and capsule to the edge of space. Takeoff is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET and the flight is expected to take approximately 10 minutes.
In an interview with NBC show “TODAY” last week, Shatner talked about his anticipation for the upcoming flight.
“I will see the vastness of space and the extraordinary wonder of our earth and how fragile it is compared to the forces at work in the universe – this is really what I am looking for,” he said.
Shatner’s journey will mark the second launch of an all-civilian crew from Blue Origin. The company’s inaugural flight in July was a high profile and high profile event that featured Bezos, his brother and two other passengers on board.
The New Shepard rocket and capsule are designed for suborbital excursions that do not enter orbit around the earth, but rather fly to the edge of space at an altitude of more than 65 miles, where passengers can experience about four minutes of weightlessness.
Wednesday’s flight departs from a location in west Texas, southeast of El Paso. After taking off, the rocket accelerates towards space at three times the speed of sound. At an altitude of 250,000 feet, the New Shepard capsule will separate, bringing Shatner and his crew to the edge of space.
The vehicle will then descend under parachutes and land back in the Texas desert.
Shatner’s expedition is the latest in a recent spate of space tourism flights. Nine days before Bezos flew to the edge of space, British billionaire Richard Branson did his own suborbital jaunt aboard a rocket-powered vehicle developed by his own space tourism company, Virgin Galactic.
Neither Blue Origin nor Virgin Galactic have announced final prices for their suborbital flights, but the tickets are expected to cost several hundred thousand dollars.
And in addition to trips to the edge of space, people with large bags may soon be able to pay for orbital experiences and extended stays in weightlessness.
Last month, SpaceX, the space company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, launched four private passengers into orbit on a three-day expedition. This flight made history as the first orbital launch with a purely civilian crew.
SpaceX is also preparing to launch three private passengers who each paid $ 55 million to the International Space Station in early 2022.