William Shatner, 90, is reportedly going to become the oldest person to fly into space on board Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin rocket. Shatner, who portrayed Captain James T. Kirk in the popular Star Trek franchise, is set to be part of the second crew to fly into space in the New Shepard capsule in July. Bezos and his team took the inaugural Blue Origin space flight and spent a few minutes in zero gravity. The Amazon founder is in a race with other private players like Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to tap the evolving space tourism market likely to be worth at least $3 billion (roughly Rs. 2.2 lakh crores) by 2030.
According to a report by TMZ, Shatner will be aboard the 15-minute flight that is expected to take off in October and the entire mission will be filmed for a documentary. He has previously expressed his desire to take a space flight. Last year, the actor shared an image of himself in a spacesuit and tweeted it to US space agency NASA, asking if could join the SpaceX crew to the International Space Station.
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) May 20, 2020
Shatner or Blue Origin is yet to officially confirm the news. The TMZ report did not offer any further details.
When Bezos and his team went to the space for a brief period in July this year, the last civilian seat on the flight was auctioned for $28 million (roughly Rs. 205 crores). Bezos and his crew of three travelled beyond the Karman Line, considered the edge of space, located at an altitude of 100km above the Earth. As they entered zero gravity, the team members floated within the capsule in awe, according to a video shared by the billionaire entrepreneur.
However, Bezos also had to face backlash as some Amazon customers began canceling their Prime membership, saying there were against funding the private space trips of a billionaire.