More than 50 years after making his debut as beloved Captain James T. Kirk in the original “Star Trek” series, William Shatner is about to boldly go to the edge of space.
The 90-year-old actor is due to take off on Wednesday aboard a rocket and capsule developed by Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. If successful, the ride will make Shatner the oldest person to reach space.
“I’ve been hearing about space for a long time now,” 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, Vice President of Mission and Flight Operations at Blue Origin, and two paying customers, Glen de Vries and Chris Boshuizen – will drive 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 last approximately 10 minutes.
In an interview last week with NBC’s “TODAY”, Shatner opened up about his anticipation of the upcoming robbery.
“I’m going to see the vastness of space and the extraordinary miracle of our Earth and how fragile it is compared to the forces at work in the universe – that’s really what I’m looking for”, a- he declared.
Shatner’s Voyage will be Blue Origin’s second launch of an all-civilian crew. The company’s maiden flight in July was a high-profile, high-stakes event, with Bezos, his brother and two other passengers on board.
The New Shepard rocket and capsule are designed for suborbital escapades, which do not actually orbit the Earth but instead fly to the edge of space, at an altitude of over 65 miles, where passengers can live. about four minutes of weightlessness.
Wednesday’s flight will launch from a site in West Texas, southeast of El Paso. After takeoff, the rocket will accelerate into space at three times the speed of sound. At an altitude of 250,000 feet, the New Shepard capsule will split apart, taking Shatner and his crew to the edge of space.
The craft will then descend under parachutes and land again in the Texas desert.
Shatner’s expedition is the latest in a recent wave of space tourism flights. Nine days before Bezos flew to the edge of space, British billionaire Richard Branson completed his own suborbital ride, aboard a rocket-powered vehicle developed by his own space tourism company, Virgin Galactic. .
Neither Blue Origin nor Virgin Galactic have announced the final price for their suborbital flights, but tickets are expected to cost several hundred thousand dollars.
And in addition to travel to the far reaches of space, people with deep pockets may soon be able to afford orbital experiences and longer stays in microgravity.
Last month, SpaceX, the spaceflight company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, launched four private passengers into orbit around Earth on a three-day expedition. This flight made history as the first orbital launch with an entirely civilian crew.
SpaceX is also preparing to launch three private passengers who each paid $ 55 million to the International Space Station in early 2022.