Jeff Bezos will reportedly be taking actor William Shatner to space with him on the rocket Blue Origin’s next flight. Shatner famously played Captain Kirk in the legendary Star Trek franchise.
The 90-year-old Canadian actor was invited to accompany Bezos and the rest of his crew on Blue Origin’s trip to space next month, on October 12.
The trip is preceded by the company’s first passenger flight in July. Shatner will be propelled into space for a 15-minute civilian flight where he will experience zero gravity for several minutes. The flight will take the same rocket as last time, “New Shepard,” a nod to the Alan Shepard, America’s first man to go into space.
It is scheduled to launch from the company’s west Texas site at 8:30 AM Central time.
The names of two other members of the crew besides Shatner have also been released: Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, a co-founder of Medidata Solutions. The two other passengers will be announced by the end of the week.
The preparation for the trip and the flight itself will be filmed for a documentary about the event and Shatner’s legacy and relationship to space culture. The documentary is making the rounds at different platforms but has not yet found its official home.
The veteran actor made his first appearance as the captain of the starship Enterprise in the original television series in 1966, which quickly became a sensation amongst audiences worldwide, spawning four spin-off television shows and 13 feature films.
Bezos plans to build on New Shepard’s successful summer space flight
Bezos, the world’s richest man and founder of the ubiquitous online retailer Amazon, launched his company Blue Origin’s first successful trip to space this past July.
The Blue Origin capsule hit speeds of more than three times the speed of sound before it reached an altitude of 80 kilometers (about 262,000 feet), which is considered the edge of space. The crew, including Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk — the first woman to undergo astronaut training back in the 1960’s — floated in gravity for a couple of minutes.
The capsule returned several minutes later and landed under a set of parachutes.
With a net worth of approximately $205 billion, Bezos, who is 57, is the only private space entrepreneur to ride as part of the first crewed flight of his company. He was accompanied by his brother Mark Bezos, 53.
Wally Funk, 82, and Oliver Daemen, at 18 the oldest and youngest humans to ever fly in space, accompanied Bezos and his brother.
Daemen was a late addition to the crew after his seat, which was originally part of a public auction, was given up by an anonymous individual who bid $28 million to fly but was unable to attend the flight.
Daemen’s father, Joes, was also a bidder in the Blue Origin competition, and the teen had been scheduled to fly as part of its second crewed launch as a paying passenger.
The groundbreaking space launch came on an extremely historic milestone, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which had first inspired Bezos to go into space.