Watch William 'Capt. Kirk' Shatner Blast Off On Blue Origin And Set An Amazing Record
In his role as Captain James T. Kirk, William Shatner has fictionally traveled to the far reaches of outer space, boldly going to places where no Earthlings had been before, encountering strange, wondrous, and sometimes bizarre adventures along the way. That was all make believe, of course. However, the captain of the starship USS Enterprise is going to space for real today (just not outer space), and will boldly set a record that might never be broken.
At 90 years old (and nearly seven months), Shatner will become the oldest person to ever travel to space. He will achieve the feat in Blue Origin's New Shepard tourist rocket. Incidentally, a former New Shepard passenger held the distinction as the oldest person to travel to space prior to today—aviator Mary Wallace "Wally" Funk, at 82 years old, made the trek with a dozen other women and Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos on July 20, 2021.
Today's flight to space will be the second one performed by the New Shepard NS-18 rocket, built for commercial space tourism. Shatner is joined by crewmates Audrey Powers, Chris Boshuizen, and Glen de Vries, with lift-off set for 9:30 am ET today from Launch Site One in West Texas. You can catch the livestream right here...
The trip will last around 11 minutes. During the first few minutes, the rocket will launch and climb to an altitude of 62 miles, into the boundary of space. From there, the top capsule will separate itself, allowing Shatner and the other passengers to experience weightlessness and peer out the windows for a view that relatively few people ever get to see.
After a brief stay in space, both the rocket and capsule will return to Earth, separately from one another, using fancy computer hardware to land. Parachutes deployed from the capsule will slow down its decent to under 20 miles per hour before it touches ground. There is also shock absorption built into the seats.
Safe travels, Shatner and company. And to quote the infamous captain, "Steady as she goes."