Shatner is among the four all-civilian crew on a suborbital ride in the New Shepard spaceship made by Jeff Bezos' company, Blue Origin.
William Shatner is all set to make history by going "where no man has gone before" as part of the New Shepard crew. Taking on the persona of his iconic Star Trek character, Captain James T. Kirk, Shatner is among the four all-civilian crew on a suborbital ride in the spaceship made by Jeff Bezos' company, Blue Origin. At the age of 90, The Practice actor will become the oldest person ever to venture into space. Carrying forward his legacy as the captain of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek franchise Shatner will now get "to explore strange new worlds" just as he had professed in the opening of every Star Trek episode way back in the 70s.
"We talk about space and what weightless conditions are, the enormity of the universe and the absolute jewel of a little thing we call the Earth by comparison," Shatner told TODAY. "I’m going to feel that with the same enormity that I felt this electrical storm last night." He added, "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." He hoped that the experience would give him a new perspective that he can only get from this.
The launch was delayed by a day as the crew waited to be carried to space in New Shepard. It is set to be an 11-minute ride to the edge of space about 60 miles above the earth's surface. "I'm deeply disappointed because I was building up the enthusiastic response, now we have to wait another day," Shatner told Good Morning America. "[But] it's really worth it. What's a day with this extraordinary experience that we're about to have." Joining him are Dr. Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries, and Audrey Powers who is Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations. This will be New Shephard's 18th mission and comes after just two months of Bezos' successful ride into space.
Shatner is expecting plenty of Captain Kirk references as the whole world eagerly watches the launch. He believes that his life has come full circle with this trip to space. “I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle,” he said. "I really want to tell you the message that I get firsthand from seeing things that we’ve only heard about — things I’ve only played as an actor, I’m going to see firsthand. I want to come back and tell you about how I really felt when I saw these things that we’ve only learned about secondhand or thirdhand."
Powers shared that she felt "an enormous sense of responsibility to represent this team" and said, "They offered me the opportunity to represent all those great people and sit in the seats, so I could not be more overwhelmed at the opportunity." Fellow crew member, de Vries, added, "This is the beginning of a new time for space and we're on the beginning of a curve that's going to blast off. That's a metaphor for that adventure that we're literally going to have together. I can't wait."
You can watch the launch here: