It’s official. William Shatner, the man a generation has grown up seeing playing the grim-faced Captain James T. Kirk in the American sci-fi series ‘Star Trek’, will head to what the opening line of the Gene Rodenberry-created inter-galactic drama described as “the final frontier – where no man has ever gone before”.
According to a report by Space.com, on October 12, the 90-year-old actor will take off on a sub-orbital flight in the Jeff Bezos-helmed spacecraft ‘Blue Origin’, from the New Shepard launch site in Texas, USA. He will be accompanied by Audrey Powers, vice-president of missions and flight operations. They will fill the last two seats on the company’s second crewed flight, the website said quoting a statement from Blue Origin.
“So now I can say something,” a delighted Shatner tweeted on Monday. “Yes, it’s true; I’m going to be a ‘rocket man’!” The reference was an ironic acknowledgement of the phrase made popular in the context of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un by former US President Donald Trump.
Shatner, who will be the oldest man ever to travel to space, reprised the role of Captain Kirk in seven ‘Star Trek’ films spawned by the television series. He is now the host and executive producer of ‘The UnXplained’ on The History Channel.
Shatner and his crewmates will fly just shy of three months after Blue Origin’s first crewed flight, which carried Bezos, and three other passengers on a 10-minute foray into space that reached 107 kms in altitude, according to Space.com.
“I’ve heard about space for a long time now,” Shatner said in a statement issued by Blue Origin. “I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle.”