Celebrated television actor William Shatner plans to zoom into space this month. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin, announced yesterday that Shatner will blast off from West Texas on October 12. Shatner is best known for his portrayal of the charming and headstrong—if also melodramatic—Captain James T. Kirk on the television series Star Trek. The actor will boldly go where no other sci-fi actors—or nonagenarians for that matter—have gone.
At age 90, Shatner will become the oldest person in space. He will join three other space travelers aboard a Blue Origin capsule. Two of them will be paying customers. The launch will be the company’s second ever with a crew.
Bezos was on Blue Origin’s debut flight in July. He traveled with his brother and the youngest and oldest persons to fly in space. Shatner will break that upper threshold by about eight years. (See 18-, 82-year-olds Head to Space.)
Also flying with Shatner on the Starship Enterprise—er, Blue Origin spaceship: a former NASA engineer who founded a nanosatellite company; the co-founder of a software company specializing in clinical research; and a Blue Origin employee.
“I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle,” Shatner said in a statement.
The psalmist David agreed that God’s creation is miraculous! He says, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the Moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)
Blue Origin’s up-and-down space hop will last just 10 minutes and reach no higher than about 66 miles. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the definition of space involves a boundary 62 miles above sea level known as the Kármán Line.
So while he won’t be realizing Star Trek’s stated mission to “explore strange new worlds or seek out new life and new civilizations” on this trip, Shatner will enter space, the “final frontier.”
(Actor William Shatner takes questions from reporters after a commencement address at New England Institute of Technology graduation. AP/Steven Senne)