Captain Kirk Boldly Going Where No Sci-Fi Actor Has Gone Before 

Photo of William Shatner. | Image by Maarten de Boer, NBC via Getty Images

On Oct. 12, legendary science-fiction actor William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek television series, will blast off aboard a Blue Origin reusable rocket and become the oldest person to go to space. Shatner is 90 years old. It will be the 18th flight for the Blue Origin craft named New Horizon and the second with passengers.  

According to a press release issued on Monday, Oct. 4, Shatner will join Blue Origin Vice President of Missions and Flight Operations Audrey Powers on the 10-minute flight to the edge of space. Also on board will be Dr. Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries.   

Shatner began portraying Captain James T. Kirk in 1966 and held the role through the first three seasons before the show was canceled. Shatner found success in the role, reprising it for six feature films that followed the original series.   

“I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle,” Shatner said in a press release from Blue Origin.  

Powers has a long history with space programs, including logging more than 2,000 hours of console time for the International Space Station program. Powers is an engineer, attorney, and pilot who heads up Blue Origin’s New Mercury diversity program. She also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.  

“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,” said Audrey Powers. “I was part of the amazing effort we assembled for New Shepard’s Human Flight Certification Review, a years-long initiative completed in July 2021. As an engineer and lawyer with more than two decades of experience in the aerospace industry, I have great confidence in our New Shepard team and the vehicle we’ve developed.”  

The upcoming launch is currently planned for Oct. 12 at 8:30 AM local time. New Shepard launches from the Blue Origin space pad located North of La Mesa, Texas. The facility is known as Launch Site One.   

Blue Origin is a project founded by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos. The New Shepard design has flown 17 missions, with only the second launch considered unsuccessful. The second launch failed because it experienced a fault in the landing apparatus of the booster rocket.  

The first human-crewed flight for New Shepard came on July 20 when the craft carried Bezos, his brother, the oldest person to go to space, Wally Funk, and the youngest, Oliver Daemon. Shatner is six years older than Funk.  

The Oct. 12 launch will be live-streamed through the Blue Origin website to allow the public an opportunity to see the craft in action. There are currently no on-site facilities for spectators at the launch site. The flight will last about 10 minutes, with the booster landing horizontally and the crew capsule landing by parachute near the launch facility. 

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