William Shatner, the original Captain James T. Kirk in the 1966 television series “Star Trek” is headed to space on Kent-based Blue Origin’s rocket New Shepard NS-18.
Shatner and Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of Mission & Flight Operations, will fly on board with two other crew members, the company announced Monday, Oct. 4.
“I’ve heard about space for a long time now,” Shatner, 90, said in a Blue Origin media release. “I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle.”
The two will join crewmates Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries for the flight which lifts off from Launch Site One on Oct. 12 in Texas. Boshuizen is a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs. de Vries is vice-chair of Life Sciences & Healthcare, Dassault Systèmes and co-founder of Medidata.
Shatner’s career as an actor, director, producer, writer, recording artist and horseman has spanned 60 years. The “Star Trek” series spawned a feature film franchise where Shatner returned as Kirk in seven of the Star Trek movies, one of which he directed. He has long wanted to travel to space and will become the oldest person to have flown to space.
Shatner is currently the host and executive producer of “The UnXplained” on The History Channel. From the producers of “Ancient Aliens” and “The Curse of Oak Island,” the one-hour, nonfiction series explores the world’s most fascinating, strange and inexplicable mysteries.
Powers joined Blue Origin in 2013 and oversees all New Shepard flight operations, vehicle maintenance, and launch, landing and ground support infrastructure.
“I’m so proud and humbled to fly on behalf of Team Blue, and I’m excited to continue writing Blue’s human spaceflight history,” Powers said.
This flight follows Blue Origin’s successful first human flight on July 20 which included Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and founder of Blue Origin; Mark Bezos, brother of Jeff Bezos; Wally Funk, aviation pioneer; and Oliver Daemen, Blue Origin’s first paying customer.
The winner earlier this year of Blue Origin’s auction for a seat on the company’s first human flight into space bid $28 million, but asked to remain anonymous and chose to fly on a future New Shepard mission due to scheduling conflicts. Blue Origin has not disclosed the amount of other bidders, including Boshuizen and de Vries, who are paying for their flights.
Bezos, a huge fan of “Star Trek,” invited Shatner to be a guest on the flight, according to The Associated Press. The flight will last about 10 minutes and travel about 62 miles up, according to Blue Origin.
Blue Origin employs more than 3,500 across the nation and more than 2,500 in Kent. The company sells people rides into space and eventually hopes to have people living and working in space. The company opened in Kent in 2000 and expanded its headquarters in 2020 to a 236,000-square-foot blue-colored facility along 76th Avenue South between South 212th and South 228th streets.
More than 20 current and former Blue Origin employees last week accused Blue Origin of having a toxic work environment and not adhering to proper safety protocols, according to The Associated Press. Blue Origin said it doesn’t tolerate harassment or discrimination and stood by its safety record.