At this point, everyone should be well accustomed to the pop culture trend of civilians sending rockets into space. Elon Musk’s SpaceX program has had a myriad of conflicts. The most recent was Musk’s email that leaked on Black Friday in regards to the project. In it, Musk relayed information that SpaceX’s Raptor engine was in “crisis” (via The Verge). Musk has been adamant that humans should be heading to Mars. Not to be outdone, Amazon’s former CEO Jeff Bezos also has designs on sending a rocket out of the Earth’s atmosphere. In a highly publicized event, William Shatner boarded Bezos’s rocket via his company Blue Origin last month.
As it was Bezos’s rocket, it should come as no surprise that the billionaire would make a movie on the matter for Amazon’s streaming service. The film is called Shatner In Space and is exactly as it sounds. The subject of the film revolves around William Shatner’s experience before, during, and after his trip on the Blue Origin space vehicle. A recent trailer teases these aspects, but also Shatner’s reaction to the prospect of taking flight. “It’s life-changing,” Shatner says with watery eyes. See the trailer below.
As monumental as it may be for a civilian to head to space, there is also a counterpoint. Many have criticized William Shatner for going to space. Shatner’s co-star on Star Trek George Takei has often been vocal about his opinions on Shatner. The two have often clashed since their days as James T. Kirk and Hikaru Sulu. Even Prince William had something to say on the matter. To many, this is a publicity stunt since Shatner only spent ten minutes in space. As Prince William pointed out, climate change is a bigger concern than space flight. Increasing weather such as a vast collection of tornadoes has made it clear that the Earth’s damage should be focused on and not sending actors into space (via Axios). Shatner’s special only lasts a cool 47 minutes, a portion of which is an overview of Shatner’s career (via CNN). Bezos has made no secret of being a Star Trek “nerd” and his excitement at working with Shatner is evident.
While William Shatner and Jeff Bezos seem to be having the time of their lives, the story of the Blue Origin flight has had loss as well. Just a month after Blue Origin went to space, one of the additional participants of the flight died in an unrelated plane crash. Glen de Vries was a described entrepreneur and vice chairman at a company he co-created, Dassault Systemes (via Deadline). The resulting crash was in a single-engine plane with one other fatality, Thomas Fischer. The tragic circumstances cast a long shadow over the celebration of the Blue Origin flight. While technically the launch was a success, the death of de Vries will long be associated with it since it happened so soon after.
Even with the tragedy, Star Trek fans are sure to enjoy the image of real-life Captain Kirk finally getting to go to space. The 90-year-old actor is now the oldest person to leave Earth’s atmosphere. For those who wish to catch William Shatner’s real-life trek to space, Shatner In Space is now available to stream on Amazon Prime.