William Shatner is a veteran actor who played the role of the fearless commander on Star Trek's USS Enterprise for four decades. He will take a real-life leap into space on Wednesday as part of billionaire Jeff Bezos' next stage in his quest to control the fledgling industry of space tourism.
Shatner, 90 years old, will be the oldest person to fly into space after completing the 11-minute flight with three civilian crew mates. Blue Origins New Shepard rocket liftoff is scheduled for 8.30 AM CT (2.30 PM BST) at Van Horn, Texas launchpad.
It marks also the second crewed attempt to fly the rocket system that lifted Bezos (57-year-old Amazon founder, world's richest man), his brother Mark and two passengers 66.5 miles into orbit in July.
Bezos described his joyride as the greatest day of his life, nine days after Sir Richard Branson's flight to the edge in space aboard Virgin Galactics VSS Unity. Elon Musk, a SpaceX entrepreneur and a third wealth entrepreneur, is waging a battle with the two billionaires to offer frequent trips off the planet to fare-paying passengers.
Canadian Shatner will take over the role of Wally Funk's oldest space traveler. An 82-year old Wally Funk flew with Bezos and said that he expected the most difficult part to be climbing into his chair.
According to Star Treks Captain James Kirk, there is no age factor that can be applied to this vehicle.
If you are not very flexible, it can be difficult to get in and out of the chairs in weight when youre in gravity. It was designed for us to be able to glide out of the seats in weightlessness.
Strong winds caused today's flight to be delayed by one day. It is the 18th overall flight for the capsule named after Alan Shepard. He was the first American to orbit the Earth in 1961.
Audrey Powers (Blue Origin executive); Chris Boshuizen (ex-Nasa engineer, founder of satellite earth imaging company Planet Labs); and Glen de Vries (chief executive of Medidata Solutions, a clinical research firm.