William Shatner of 'Star Trek' says he's ready to go to space for real

'Star Trek' actor William Shatner says he is ready to get to space for real.

A new video from Blue Origin follows the 90-year-old's thoughts as he gets ready for a suborbital venture to space, expected to take place no earlier than Wednesday (Oct. 13). The video also sounds like Shatner isn't as "terrified" as he acknowledged he was feeling about the upcoming flight, a few days ago.

"I'm going up to space; I don't know how many people can say that," Shatner said  in opening the video. (He is expected to be the oldest person to fly, after Mercury 13 aviator Wally Funk broke the record on another Blue Origin flight in July, at age 82.)

You can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of Blue Origin, or directly via the company's YouTube. The webcast will begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT).

Live Updates: William Shatner's Blue Origin launch on New Shepard
Related: Star Trek movies, ranked worst to best

"Star Trek" star William Shatner, 90, is ready to launch into space on Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket on Oct. 13, 2021. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

The real-life number of people who have been to space stands at less than 600, the vast majority of them being professional agency astronauts. But Shatner represents part of a small, yet growing population of non-professional spaceflyers, most of whom paid lots of money for the opportunity. 

Blue Origin hasn't yet disclosed how much one of its New Shepard flight seats go for, but it's likely quite a bit given that competitor Virgin Galactic just reopened its own manifest for $450,000 per person.

Shatner said his 11-minute flight to the edge of space on Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft will be "life-changing, not because of the aerial adventure, but because of the people I'm meeting and talking to." He also acknowledged the number of people he has come across who are fascinated by his fictional counterpart, Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

"Star Trek" has been a notable influence on professional astronauts, with some having appeared on the show over the years. While the franchise the 1960s show engendered covers futuristic spaceflight largely centuries from the present day, Shatner himself said he is pleased to be a part of the start of what could be more space tourism, since Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin just started crewed flights this year.

William Shatner (second from right) will fly along with three other private citizens as part of a Blue Origin suborbital spaceflight. They are: (from left) Glen de Vries, vice chair for life sciences and healthcare at the French software company Dassault Systèmes; Audrey Powers, Blue Origin vice president of mission and flight operations; and Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of the Earth-observation company Planet. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

"We're just at the beginning, and how miraculous the beginning is, and how extraordinary it is to be part of this beginning," Shatner said. He noted there is a "mystique" of space and that he will look forward to the view from his window.

"There is an adventure in my life I would not have had if I had not done this," Shatner says near the video's end. Joining him on that spaceflight will be Blue Origin's Audrey Powers, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, and Glen de Vries, co-founder of clinical research software platform Medidata Solutions (now Dassault Systèmes).

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace