Star Trek actor William Shatner has gone to space on the screen, but none of that has prepared him for the real thing. Shatner, 90, will become the oldest person to go into space when he joins the next Blue Origin Spaceflight from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' company. During his New York Comic-Con panel Thursday, the actor admitted that he is terrified to go into space.
"My friend Jason Erhlick 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?" Shatner recalled, reports Deadline. "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?" He jokingly told the crowd he did not "want to be the oldest guy to go into space."
So now I can say something. Yes, it’s true; I’m going to be a “rocket man!” 😝🤣 https://t.co/B2jFeXrr6L— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) October 4, 2021
Back on Sept. 24, sources told TMZ that Shatner would join the next Blue Origin suborbital spaceflight. Blue Origin made the news official on Oct. 4, noting that Blue Origin's Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations, Audrey Powers, will join Shatner on the flight, which takes off on Oct. 12. "I've heard about space for a long time now. I'm taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle," Shatner said in a statement.
In his NYCC panel, Shatner said he still thinks about the 1986 Challenger disaster, which killed seven astronauts. Everyone at Blue Origin told Shatner he will be fine, but that hasn't eased his mind that much. "And I'm thinking, 'I'm going up in a rocket and our best guess is it should be fine? I'm terrified. I'm Captain Kirk, and I'm terrified. I'm not really terrified - yes I am. It comes and goes like a summer cold," Shatner said, before making a reference to his Twilight Zone episode. "I'm planning on putting my nose against the window [once I'm in space], and my only hope is I won't see someone else looking back," he joked.
Shatner's flight is scheduled to take off on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 12 and will be streamed at BlueOrigin.com. The flights typically last just 11 minutes, reports Space.com. The usual New Shepard flight sees the spacecraft go above the 62-mile Karman line, which is considered the boundary of space. Chris Boshuizen, the co-founder of the Earth observatory company Planet, and Dassault Systems vice chair Glen de Vries will also join Shatner and Powers.