Blue Origin beaming up William Shatner for October suborbital spaceflight: report
LOS ANGELES - After leading the crew of the USS Starship Enterprise on television, Captain James T. Kirk himself, William Shatner, is headed for the stars for real.
According to TMZ, the 90-year-old "Star Trek" veteran will climb aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket for a 15-minute suborbital spaceflight scheduled for October. The trip would make Shatner the oldest person to ever be launched into space, according to the outlet. TMZ claimed that the October spaceflight may be filmed as part of a documentary special produced by Shatner.
Representatives for Shatner and Blue Origin did not immediately return FOX Business' requests for comment.
Shatner has previously expressed an interest to go into space.
In May, the actor tweeted a photo of himself superimposed in a spacesuit and indicated he was ready to join NASA's Crew-2 mission.
"BTW @NASA - just in case; the suit does fit!," he wrote.
During a panel discussion entitled "Back to the Moon and Beyond With NASA" at San Diego Comic-Con, Shatner also hinted at the possibility of going on a commercial suborbital spaceflight in the future.
"There's a possibility that I’m going to go up for a brief moment and come back down," Shatner said. However, he cited a history of terrible accidents like the "O-ring thing" as his main apprehension holding him back from fulfilling his astronaut aspirations. The "O-Ring" is a rocket booster seal which was found to have failed during the 1986 Challenger mission, which resulted in a fiery explosion that killed seven astronauts.
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, who was also on the Comic-Con panel, assured Shatner that the agency takes safety very seriously, and has applied the lessons learned from previous mishaps to future missions.
"Our systems are much safer and much more technologically advanced than in the past," NASA astronaut Nicole Mann added.
The Jeff Bezos–owned aerospace company previously completed its first successful crewed launch in July. Bezos was joined on the flight by his brother Mark, 82-year-old aerospace pioneer Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, who replaced a mystery auction winner who paid $28 million for a seat. The flight lasted almost 11 minutes in total and reached 66.5 miles in altitude.
Prior to Bezos' flight, 71-year-old Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson flew 53 miles above the Earth as part of the company's Unity 22 mission.
Branson, along with Virgin Galactic's chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses, lead operations engineer Colin Bennett and government affairs vice president Sirisha Bandla, experienced weightlessness for approximately 4 minutes before returning home.
Beyond suborbital space, Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully sent the world's first all-civilian crew roughly 360 miles into orbit, the farthest for any human since the Hubble Space Telescope repair missions, for three days.
The Inspiration4 crew included accomplished pilot and Shift4 Payments founder and CEO Jared Isaacman, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital physician assistant and bone cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor, and Lockheed Martin data engineer and Air Force veteran Chris Sembroski.
In addition to raising awareness about St. Jude, the Inspiration4 mission raised $210 million to help advance medical research on children's cancer.