It’s been thirty years since William Shatner’s alter ego, James T. Kirk, last uttered his legendary command “Beam me up, Scotty,” a trademark catchphrase the actor became famous for during his 25-years leading the famous Star Trek series and feature films.
While his previous trips to outer space were entirely fiction, this time he is going for real.
“Yes, it’s true; I’m going to be a ‘rocket man!’” the 90-year-old cheered on Twitter, adding that, “It’s never too late to experience new things.”
His flight comes 55 years after the T.V. series debut of Star Trek which first aired on September 8, 1966.
Shatner, whose career as an actor and movie director stretches over 70 years, has always had a keen interest in astronomy, space travel, and science and was delighted to receive an invitation from Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, a pioneering enterprise in providing commercial space flights.
“They called me,” Shatner recalled, and, on a philosophical note, “I’m going to see the vastness of space and the extraordinary miracle of our Earth and how fragile it is compared to the forces at work in the universe; that’s really what I’m looking for.”
Bezos, a reported ‘Trekkie’ himself owns one of the few commercial space flight companies in the world, along with Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.
As commander of the USS Starship Enterprise, Captain Kirk had traveled the edges of the universe. Shatner, who did all the hard work, however, had to wait 90 years to seize the opportunity to blast off into orbit.
The flight is scheduled to take-off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas on October 12. Liftoff is slated for 8:30 am CDT from the company’s launch site near Van Horn in West Texas.
Shatner will travel alongside three other crewmates, Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Earth observation company Planet Labs, Glen de Vries, vice chair for life sciences and healthcare at French software company Dassault Systèmes, and the company’s vice of missions and flight operations, Audrey Powers.
The voyage will take the team 66 miles beyond the Kármán Line which is the internationally acknowledged border of space, for a mere 11 minutes.
Nonetheless, Shatner, who hosts and is the executive producer for The UneXplained, a non-fiction T.V. show on the History Channel, is thrilled to go up in space and experience what it’s like to float weightlessly in the skies.
“We talk about space and what weightless conditions are, the enormity of the universe and the absolute jewel of a little thing we call the Earth by comparison,” Shatner told the Today Show.
“I’m going to feel that with the same enormity that I felt this electrical storm last night,” he added.
This will be Blue origin’s second manned mission to space with the New Sheppard-18 spacecraft.
Shatner will set the record for the oldest man ever to travel to space, dethroning aviation pioneer, 82-year-old Wally Funk, who was on the company’s first manned space flight in July of this year.