As “Captain Kirk”, William Shatner became a “Star Trek” icon. But now the actor should really fly into space at the age of 90. The all-capsule from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos serves as the “Spaceship Enterprise”.
Van Horn – Around half a century ago, William Shatner took command of the “Starship Enterprise” as “Captain Kirk”.
On Wednesday (October 13th) the Canadian actor from the TV series “Star Trek” is supposed to fly into space for the first time at the age of 90 – one day later than originally planned due to strong winds. “It has a certain symmetry,” Shatner told NBC about his flight. “There’s a whole life cycle in there.”
The adventure is made possible by the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who provides the “New Shepard” capsule developed by his space company Blue Origin. It is the second manned flight for Blue Origin, the first in July being on board by Bezos himself. Together with him, his brother Mark, an 82-year-old former US pilot and an 18-year-old Dutchman went on a ten-minute all-trip excursion. That was the “best day of all time”, cheered the Amazon founder and, according to the “Forbes” magazine, richest person in the world after landing.
Also immediately after landing, Bezos announced at least two more flights for this year and spoke of a very high demand for tickets. On the second manned Blue Origin flight, the former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, the entrepreneur Glen de Vries and the deputy head of Blue Origin, Audrey Powers, will now fly – with “Captain Kirk” as the fourth passenger, however, Bezos is once again a real one Successful PR coup. Blue Origin did not initially disclose whether Shatner paid for his ticket, like Boshuizen and De Vries, or whether he was invited.
Shatner, who first got the role of “Captain James T. Kirk” in the science fiction series “Star Trek” in 1966, would become the oldest person ever to travel to space. During his decades-long career, the actor, who has three daughters and separated from his fourth wife in 2019, has repeatedly commanded the “Starship Enterprise”. Shatner joked that his famous role didn’t help him prepare. “I have to disappoint you, it was all fiction.” He was “enthusiastic and afraid and a little nervous and a little afraid of this whole adventure”.
He doesn’t have to take command in the Blue Origin space capsule – it flies largely automatically. In addition, it does not go through the “infinite expanses” of space and into “foreign galaxies”, but only for around ten minutes to about 100 kilometers above the earth above the western Texas desert, at times with weightlessness, before the reusable capsule is slowed down by large parachutes lands again. The International Aviation Association (FAI) and many other experts consider 100 kilometers above the earth to be the limit to space, but there are no binding international regulations. He does not see himself as an astronaut, wrote Shatner on Twitter. “I just have to sit and look – at least I think so. So more of a kind of space viewer. “
The commercialization of space travel had recently gained momentum. Just a few days before Bezos, another billionaire, Richard Branson, had tested his own spaceship – the “VSS Unity” from Virgin Galactic. In mid-September, Elon Musk’s “Dragon” capsule from the private space company SpaceX undertook a multi-day excursion into earth orbit – only with laypeople on board.
In addition to fulfilling their own dreams, the billionaires hope to enter the space tourism business. Critics accuse them of wasting a lot of money regardless of the climate and largely without scientific research interests.
Shatner isn’t the first actor to fly into space. Just a few days ago, for the first time in the history of space travel, a film team, consisting of the Russian actress Julia Peressild and the director Klim Schipenko, flew to the International Space Station ISS for filming. The US is also planning a film shoot on the outpost of humanity. But the US actor Tom Cruise was in discussion, who should fly to the ISS. But there is no date yet.
Now his colleague Shatner is becoming a “rocket man”. “It’s never too late to experience new things,” wrote the 90-year-old on Twitter – and thanked him for the numerous congratulations, including from film colleagues like actress Mia Farrow. He is particularly looking forward to seeing “the vastness of space and the extraordinary wonder of our earth”. “I’ll see things firsthand that I’ve only played as an actor so far. I want to come back and tell you about how it really felt to see these things that we normally only hear about. ”Dpa