It was supposed to be yesterday. This morning, Audrey Powers, Chris Boshuizen, and Glen de Vries were supposed to launch a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket into space. This mission, known as NS-18, was also supposed to carry one very famous passenger, who has made a career of making people think he was in outer space.
This passenger is William Shatner.
And, much like his most famous character, James Tiberius Kirk, Shatner would not be denied. His famous trip to space was delayed one day, and his NS-18 mission will lift off at 9 a.m. Central Time from Launch Site One in Van Horn, Texas.
This is not the first human-crewed flight for a Blue Origin rocket. In July, their first was featured a crew with 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, Jeff Bezos, and his brother, Amazon founder Mark Bezos. Their famous trip lasted just a few minutes, but many say that it ushered in the era of space tourism.
When Shatner passes out of Earth’s atmosphere, he will become the oldest person to enter space, beating Funk’s record by eight years.
How to Watch
Blue Origin will live stream the event from their YouTube channel (as seen above) and will be live-tweeting from their @blueorigin Twitter handle as well. The video will begin 90 minutes before liftoff, which will be 7:30 a.m. Central Time.
From ‘Star Trek’ to Spaceflight
Shatner has been very candid on his mission over the past few weeks. Since the trip was announced on October 8, he’s been interviewed many times and shared many different opinions.
“I’ve heard about space for a long time now,” said Shatner. “I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle.”
In a video released by Blue Origin, he said that going to space will be a “life-changing” experience.
Last week told audiences at the New York ComicCon that he was “terrified” and has since made light of the situation. On October 11, Shatner and the rest of the NS-18 crew appeared on CNN for an interview with anchor Erica Hill.
Hill asked Shatner if the one-day weather delay was affecting his feelings on the trip.
“It’s extending the feelings,” Shatner said. “It’s a combination of things… it’s not all terror. There’s some bubbling elements of that. But also, I’m thoroughly versed in the safety of what we’re doing.”
Shatner described the “workout” he was getting as he practiced getting in and out of the harnesses, which were part of the spacecraft.
“I feel comfortable, but I am also uncomfortable,” Shatner said. “I’ll be very happy when we go up, and we’ll be in weightlessness, and we know we’re safe because everything else should be alright, and we have that moment of inspiration which I feel will be there when we’re looking into the vastness of the universe.”
‘Star Trek’ and Spaceflight
Shatner will be the first “Star Trek” actor to make it into actual space, but the ashes of Scotty (James Doohan) were “smuggled” up to the International Space Station by Richard Garriott in 2008. Doohan’s son, Chris, divulged the secret in 2020, saying that his father’s ashes had traveled nearly 1.7 billion miles in space.
Star Trek’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, also had his ashes launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1992.
Is Shatner an Astronaut Now?
CNN’s Erica Hill asked Shatner if he would consider himself an astronaut upon completing his mission. He did not answer. Instead, he made a joke. Much like how Kirk ended nearly every episode of “Star Trek: The Original Series,” Shatner is keeping his crewmates laughing.