Star Trek actor Shatner on board for Blue Origin rocket launch

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (Reuters) – William Shatner, the “Star Trek” actor who rose to prominence by claiming that a Hollywood soundstage was a spaceship exploring the galaxy, will be launched to the edge of space for for real next week in a rocket built by Blue Origin, the space company of billionaire Jeff Bezos.

Shatner, better known as Captain Kirk in the original “Star Trek” television series, will be part of a crew of four aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard launcher on the flight scheduled for the morning of October 12, a the company announced on Monday. .

“I’ve been hearing about space for a long time now,” Shatner, 90, said in a statement released by Blue Origin. “I take the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle.”

In July, Bezos, the founder of Amazon, soared about 107 miles above the Texas desert aboard a New Shepard launcher and returned safely to Earth.

Blue Origin said pioneer aviator Wally Funk, 82, was the oldest person to reach space when she joined Bezos on the July flight. Shatner is on the verge of breaking that record.

William Shatner, who plays Captain James T. Kirk in the original version of Star Trek, arrives at the Destination Star Trek event in London on October 19, 2012. REUTERS / Suzanne Plunkett

The actor flies as a guest of Blue Origin, but the company claims to have also sold nearly $ 100 million in tickets to paying customers, although it did not say how much.

Shatner will be joined by Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer; Glen de Vries, an entrepreneur in clinical research; and Audrey Powers, vice president and engineer of Blue Origin. It was not immediately clear if they were “Star Trek” fans.

Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000. New Shepard raced at speeds of up to 2,233 miles (3,595 km) per hour, overtaking the KarmanLine – 62 miles (100 km) in a straight line – established by an international aviation body to define the boundary between the earth’s atmosphere and space.

Shatner first played Captain James T. Kirk in 1966 in a television franchise that many NASA astronauts have credited with igniting their love of space. He also played the role in seven feature films.

On Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it would review safety concerns raised by current and former Blue Origin employees, who said the company “often prioritizes speed of execution and reducing costs over resources. appropriate to ensure quality “.

Blue Origin said it was promptly investigating any misconduct issues raised by employees and maintaining its safety record.

Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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