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 on a New Shepard rocket from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site.
“I’ve heard about space for a long time now,” Shatner said in a press release on Oct. 4. “I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle.”
The launch had been scheduled for Tuesday but forecasted high winds prompted a 24-hour delay. Here’s everything we know about the highly-anticipated mission, called NS-18.
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. His other notable credits include “T.J. Hooker,” “Rescue 911” and “The Practice.” Along with acting, Shatner is also the host of “The UnXplained” on The History Channel, which explores world mysteries, including aliens.
Shatner will be making history as the oldest man to fly in space, surpassing Funk, 82, who flew with Bezos on a Blue Origin flight in July. 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’m terrified!” he said during New York Comic Con Thursday, according to Space.com. “I know!…I’m Captain bloody Kirk and I’m terrified!”
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.
In a video on Twitter, de Vries also shared his excitement about the launch.
“Space technology is going to be a way to help us continue to thrive on Earth by reaching beyond it,” he said.
When is the launch and how to watch
On Sunday, Blue Origin said it will postpone the flight that was slated to fly Shatner to space due to forecasted high winds at its launch site. The flight of the company’s New Shepard spacecraft is now scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, a day later than originally planned.
A statement on Blue Origin’s website added that New Shepard NS-18 has met all mission requirements and the astronauts have already started their 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”).
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 Wally Funk and 18-year-old student Oliver Daemen (son of a hedge fund manager) to suborbital space.
In a matter of minutes, the group blasted off from the West Texas desert, reaching space and returning to Earth in a smooth parachute landing.
“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. Bezos said Blue Origin plans two more flights this year, and sales of private seats on his flights are approaching $100 million.
Contributing: Rob Landers, Florida Today; Marcia Dunn, Associated Press, Martha Pskowski, El Paso Times and John Bacon and Emre Kelly, USA TODAY