What just happened? Blue Origin is sending William Shatner to space, Jeff Bezos' private spaceflight company has announced. The pending launch sets Shatner up to become the oldest person to have flown to space. The historic flight has presumably been in discussion for a while now considering it is scheduled to take place next week.
Shatner has been involved in Hollywood for as long as most of us can remember. In tech circles, he is best known for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek franchise from 1966 to 1969. Following a slump in his career, things picked up in the latter half of the 1970s, with Shatner reprising the role of Kirk in a series of Star Trek movies over the next couple of decades.
Two incredible and inspirational people will join the #NS18 crew. Actor @WilliamShatner and Blue Origin's Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations Audrey Powers @AudreyKPowers. pic.twitter.com/xqI9nw1KX8--- Blue Origin (@blueorigin) October 4, 2021
Blue Origin has already put the youngest and oldest person in space. Back in July, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen joined Bezos on Blue Origin's first crewed spaceflight. He sat alongside American aviator Wally Funk, who became the oldest astronaut ever at age 82. Of course, the star of that day was Bezos himself.
Shatner was born on March 22, 1931, meaning he'll be 90 when he heads to space. Should everything go according to plan, he will take the record from Funk in the process. He will be joined by Audrey Powers, Blue Origin's VP of mission & flight operations and two other crewmates, Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries.
New Shepard NS-18 is scheduled to blast off from Launch Site One in West Texas at 8:30 a.m. Central on October 12. Blue Origin will host live coverage of the event on its website starting 90 minutes before liftoff.