At New York Comic Con on Thursday, Star Trek actor William Shatner talked about his upcoming trip into space. No, this isn’t a new television role. The Hollywood heavyweight is going on a real-life adventure aboard the rocket New Shepard NS-18.
He talked a bit about technology, friendships, and his grandkids before fans asked about his trip to space. “I’m going to go into space. I’m scared,” William Shatner said, before pausing and then adding with a smile, “I’m going where no man…”
The Star Trek star also shared a bit of the story behind the once-in-a-lifetime venture. “My friend Jason Ehrlick came to me about a year and a half ago and he said he was seeing these rockets with people going into space. And, wouldn’t it be something if Captain Kirk went up there?” William Shatner said. “And I said, ‘Jason, for God’s sake, man. Nobody cares if Captain Kirk goes to space. It was 55 years ago, man. But I’m doing well. Maybe I should go up to space?”
Since their initial conversation, almost a year went by before a real conversation took place about William Shatner following Jeff Bezos’ historic trip to space. It was announced last week that the actor will explore the final frontier for real on Bezos’ Blue Origin Spaceflight, becoming the oldest person to go to space (via Deadline).
The actor also mentioned a few other worries he has, like coming up with something memorable to say while looking at Earth and wondering about the abundance of the phrase “it’s our best guess” from the team at Blue Origin. Elaborating on the trip itself, William Shatner explained that the fear goes away and then suddenly comes back. “My only hope is I won’t [look out the window and] see someone else.”
According to Space Flight Now, William Shatner will fly on the second launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard booster with human passengers (and the 18th New Shepard launch overall) following a first crewed mission in July. On that flight, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Wally Funk and Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen rocketed to an altitude of 66 miles (107 kilometers), just above the internationally recognized boundary of space.
The veteran actor is a longtime space enthusiast and advocate for space exploration. He played the role of Captain Kirk on the Star Trek television series in the 1960s, and in seven movies, one of which he directed. The trip to space will last about 10 minutes after blastoff from Blue Origin’s launch site near Van Horn, Texas.
William Shatner and his co-passengers will spend several minutes in microgravity, allowing them to unstrap from their seats and float in the cabin of Blue Origin’s crew module. The reusable New Shepard booster will return to Earth for a propulsive landing, and the crew capsule will descend under three main parachutes, landing a few miles from the launch site in West Texas.
William Shatner’s voyage into space comes amid a boom in private human spaceflight. No date has been set for the trip at this time.