Space, the final frontier: Star Trek's William Shatner blasting off for historic Blue Origin launch

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Space, the final frontier: Star Trek's William Shatner blasting off for historic Blue Origin launch

William Shatner Captain James T. Kirk Star Trek

William Shatner's tenure as a fictional starship captain on the small screen has been leading up to this very moment. Blue Origin — the commercial space travel company founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos — confirmed Monday that the 90-year-old Star Trek veteran will become the oldest person in history to blast off into the atmosphere.

Famous for playing Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise, Shatner is poised to dethrone Wally Funk as the oldest human space traveler less than three months after the 82-year-old Funk (a trailblazing female pilot) set the record in Blue Origin's first human spaceflight that took place over the summer.

"I’ve heard about space for a long time now," Shatner said in a statement. "I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle."

The New Shepard NS-18 launch is scheduled for next Tuesday (Oct. 12) and will also include Audrey Powers (Blue Origin’s VP of Mission & Flight Operations) and a pair of crew-mates: Chris Boshuizen and 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 added. “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.”

A livestream of the launch is set to begin on the Blue Origin website 90 minutes prior to liftoff (8:30 a.m. CT / 9:30 a.m. ET).

"William Shatner is going to space? My man! I guess this means I have to become a marine biologist," tweeted Jason Alexander in a reference to his fan favorite Seinfeld character, George Costanza. 

Shatner quoted the tweet, writing: "It’s never too late to experience new things, my friend."

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