The man who portrayed Captain James T. Kirk in the iconic Star Trek television series is about to go to space for real. Blue Origin has announced William Shatner will join its next civilian flight.
Shatner is expected to make a 15-minute flight in the Blue Origin New Shepard capsule in October 2021. The short ride would make the 90-year old Shatner the oldest person to ever achieve space flight.
Jeff Bezos has made a habit of picking interesting characters for his flights. Sending William Shatner to space makes perfect sense. For many fans of science fiction, Shatner was the first face of space exploration. Long before Aldrin, Armstrong, and Collins reached the moon, Shatner’s Captain Kirk navigated the USS Enterprise through hostile galaxies.
The flight will be the second one for Blue Origin. The first was conducted in July 2021 with much success. Wally Funk, a female aviator, set the record on that flight for oldest person in space at 82. Shatner now has the opportunity to break it.
The flight is expected to reach a height of 66.5 miles. It will last just 11 minutes. Bezos hopes that such small steps are paving the way for much greater things. It is the ultimate goal of Blue Origin to make civilian space travel a reality.
Bezos is not the only one hoping to send civilians into space. NASA has established the Artemis program. The program has a goal of sending regular people to the moon and back. NASA hopes to see its first efforts in 2024.
It seems that the journey from a celebrated science fiction television show to the reality of space travel has been a short one. Shatner’s real quest to boldly go where no one his age has gone should be a beacon of hope for everyone that dreams of visiting space.
Bezos has not escaped criticism for his efforts. Some feel that profit is the ultimate motive for Bezos and others who wish to make civilian space travel possible. There is no word on what the average person will pay once the Blue Origin program is firmly established.