On October 12, William Shatner will be taking a real-life ride into space from West Texas. He’s 90 but doesn’t look it and will break the world record of being the oldest to fly into space.
The flight will be a short one. It’s expected to last about 10 minutes and not reach any higher than about 66 miles. The capsule is expected to land on the desert floor less than 10 miles from where it takes off.Read More »
Since childhood, Bezos has been a Trekkie and landed a small cameo on Star Trek Beyond as a high-ranking extraterrestrial. Now he has invited Shatner to fly on one of his rockets as a guest of honor.
Shatner will be riding with a total of three other people. One is a former NASA engineer, and another is a co-founder of a software company specializing in clinical research. The third is a former NASA flight controller. Two of them won their seats through an auction, which contributed about $28 million.
Shatner will be the first American actor to travel into space. Worldwide, Russia will be launching one of their actresses and film directors Yulia Peresild into space on October 5. It’s an on-location site for the movie, The Challenge. The Challenge depicts a medical emergency amid a space orbit. Peresild is scheduled to take her ride for two weeks
Shatner says that he’s very excited about the flight. He considers the fact that he will now get to see space for himself as nothing short of a miracle.
Shatner is famous for playing Captain Kirk on Star Trek’s USS Enterprise from 1967 to 1969. He also played the same character in seven movies. He currently hosts the History Channel’s the UnXplained.
Regardless of the duration of the ride, space tourism is a rapidly growing interest.
The Virgin Galactic shot up Richard Branson with five others on a brief ride followed by a nine-day stunt on Bezo’s hop. In September, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched a guest flight with an entrepreneur, two contest winners, and a cancer survivor.
Bezos also took his own debut flight in July with his brother, an 18-year-old resident of the Netherlands, and 82-year-old aviation pioneer, Wally Funk. Until Shatner goes up, Funk is still the oldest on the record to fly into space.
Space flights are even being used to pay final respects to the dead. When they passed on, the ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and Scotty’s James Doohan were carried on a space ride.
The Galactic launches from an airplane very similar to an airline plane. Blue Origin and SpaceX, on the contrary, are entirely automated. Either way, all pilots and guests must pass medical screening tests and climb stairs quickly in an emergency.
In September, Blue Origin faced a lawsuit of 20 current and former employees accusing them of harassment and not correctly adhering to protocols. Blue Origin, however, strives to be very transparent with their protocols and have a zero-tolerance policy for harassment. In addition, a spokesperson said that Shatner had passed all of their medical and other required tests.
Blue Origin also recently tried to challenge a NASA contract to provide SpaceX with a lunar lander but lost.
Having celebrities and layperson guests ride into space is an exciting part of the next step in space evolution. Maybe it could lead to space rides becoming as popular as amusement parks. Better yet, it may lead to the significant space exploration that’s been predicted for all of humanity for decades. Right now, however, going back to the moon appears to be the next step.