Blue Origin will send William Shatner, the actor who played Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek TV series and films will launch into space on its New Shepard spacecraft. At 90 years old, he’ll become the oldest person to fly to space, surpassing legendary aviator Wally Funk, who flew on the first crewed flight of New Shepard this summer.
TMZ first reported the news that Shatner would be flying on the next New Shepard flight, which is currently scheduled for October 12th out of Blue Origin’s launch facility in West Texas. The outlet claimed the Shatner’s flight will be filmed as part of a documentary.
Shatner will be joined by two other customers announced earlier by Blue Origin: Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer who co-founded the small satellite company Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, the co-founder of software company Medidata and vice chair of life sciences at Dassault Systèmes, a French software company.
Blue Origin also announced today that Audrey Powers, the company’s vice president of mission and flight operations, will become the fourth passenger on the flight.
Now this will be the second flight of New Shepard to carry people to the edge of space and back, as Blue Origin transitions into regular commercial flights of its suborbital rocket.
The New Shepard rocket is designed to launch vertically from Earth, carrying up to four passengers in a crew capsule on top. It then climbs above an altitude of roughly 62 miles (100 kilometers) over the Earth, where the planet’s thin atmosphere gives way to the vacuum of space.
While in the sky, the capsule and the rocket separate, and the passengers inside feel a few brief minutes of weightlessness. Both parts of the vehicle fall back to Earth; the rocket lands upright after reigniting its main engine and the capsule lands under three main parachutes. All in all, the flight lasts about 11 minutes, from liftoff to capsule touchdown.