Blue Origin, which is the only way William Shatner can fly into space, sends him into orbit
Captain Kirk, 90-year-old William Shatner, and three fellow passengers took a real-life trip into space on Wednesday, thanks to Star Trek fan Jeff Bezos.
The four were preparing for a morning launch from remote West Texas, with the fully automated capsule expected to reach an altitude of about 66 miles (106 kilometers) before parachuting back to the desert floor.
Shatner was invited by Bezos space travel firm, Blue Origin, to join him on a trip to the final frontier, establishing him as the youngest person in space.
Bezos himself drove the four to the pad and was with them on the platform high above the ground as they climbed aboard the 60-foot rocket. New Shepard, or New Earth, was named after Alan Sheparad who was the first American to be sent into space.
Captain James Tiberius Kirk will be sent into space, Blue Origin launch commentator Jacki Cortese said before liftoff. This is a pinch-me moment for all of us, Cortez said. She said she, like so many others, was drawn to the space industry by shows like Star Trek.
It was Blue Origins second scheduled passenger flight, using the same capsule and rocket that Bezos used for his own launch three months ago.
Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic kicked off the US-based space tourism boom in July, riding his own rocket ship to space. Bezos followed nine days later aboard his own capsule. Elon Musk stayed behind as SpaceX launched its first tourist flight last month, despite the fact that he was absent.
And last week, the Russians sent an actor and filmmaker to the International Space Station for filmmaking.
Were just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is. Shatner stated in a Blue Origin video posted on the day of his flight that it was extraordinary to be part of that beginning."
One Blue Origin vice president and two entrepreneurs round out the crew. Blue Origin did not disclose their ticket prices. Shatner was invited to ride for free.