VAN HORN, Texas (NewsNation Now) — William Shatner, 90, prepares to be beamed up Wednesday for his first real-life spaceflight and to become the oldest person ever to enter the final frontier.
In a 10-minute trip, Shatner will be joined by three others on the second passenger flight from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Unlike his fictional galactic voyages in “Star Trek,” Shatner will launch from a site in west Texas, southeast of El Paso.
Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin, will use the same capsule and rocket that Bezos used for his own launch three months ago. The fully automated capsule will reach a maximum altitude of about 66 miles before parachuting back into the desert.
Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson kicked off the U.S.-based space tourism boom on July 11, riding his own rocketship to space. Bezos followed nine days later aboard his own capsule. Elon Musk stayed behind as his SpaceX company launched its first private flight last month, sending a billionaire, cancer survivor and two ticket winners into orbit.
Last week, the Russians sent an actor and film director to the International Space Station for movie-making.
“We’re just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is. How extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning,” Shatner said in a Blue Origin video posted on the eve of his flight. “It looks like there’s a great deal of curiosity about this fictional character, Captain Kirk, going into space. So let’s go along with it and enjoy the ride.”
Rounding out the crew: a Blue Origin vice president and two entrepreneurs who bid unsuccessfully for a seat on the previous flight with Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Blue Origin did not disclose their ticket prices.
Bezos is expected to be at the landing site near Van Horn, Texas, to see the four off.