The “Star Trek” icon William Shatner is supposed to actually fly into space for the first time this Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. CEST. The 90-year-old Canadian actor, who became famous above all for his role as “Captain Kirk” on the spaceship Enterprise, is supposed to go on a ten-minute excursion to all with a space capsule from the Blue Origin company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Shatner would become the oldest human ever to travel to space. Due to the forecast of stronger winds, the flight originally planned for Tuesday was postponed to Wednesday.
It is the second manned flight of the New Shepard capsule. On the first in July, Bezos was on board himself, along with his brother Mark, an 82-year-old former US pilot and an 18-year-old Dutchman. The former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, the entrepreneur Glen de Vries and the deputy head of Blue Origin, Audrey Powers, will now fly with Shatner.
The participation of “Captain Kirk” as the fourth passenger is seen as a PR coup for Bezos and his company Blue Origin. Unlike Boshuizen and De Vries, Shatner did not pay for his ticket, but was invited as a “guest” by Blue Origin, reported the New York Times, citing the company.
In 1966 Shatner first took on the role of “Captain James T. Kirk” in the science fiction series “Star Trek”. He’s not in command of the Blue Origin space capsule – it flies largely automatically. In addition, it does not go through the “infinite expanses” of space and into “foreign galaxies”, but only for around ten minutes to about 100 kilometers above the earth above the western Texas desert, at times with weightlessness. Then the reusable capsule is slowed down by large parachutes and lands.
The International Aviation Association (FAI) and many other experts see 100 kilometers above the earth as the limit to space, but there are no binding international regulations.
In advance, Blue Origin published a photo of the four participants of the all excursion in blue spacesuits and a video that shows Shatner during the preparations and together with Bezos via the short message service Twitter.
The adventure is “life-changing” for him, says Shatner in it. “It seems like there is a lot of interest in the fictional character Captain Kirk actually flying into space – so let’s go with it and enjoy it all.”