William Shatner aka Captain Kirk flies into space

Status: 10/13/2021 7:56 a.m.

Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin sends William Shatner into space. He became world famous as Captain Kirk in “Star Trek”. The 90-year-old Canadian will be the oldest person to have ever flown into space.

By Ute Spangenberger, SWR

There are film roles that actors are identified with for a lifetime. That is the case with William Shatner. The economist is now 90 years old and has also made a name for himself as a producer, director, author and singer. But for the public he is one thing above all else: “Captain James T. Kirk”. Now William Shatner actually flies into space – reality catches up with fiction.

PR coup with a “space hop”

With the engagement of the prominent passenger, Jeff Bezos, head of the space company Blue Origin, has achieved a huge PR coup. Blue Origin’s second manned space flight was sure to hit the headlines when the news broke last week. For months, the extroverted entrepreneurs Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk have been fighting a prestigious duel for business with space tourists and outbid each other in the selection of illustrious passengers.

William Shatner and his crew have already tried on the spacesuits and are ready to go into space.

Bild: imago images/UPI Photo

“I’m going to be a rocket man,” Shatner tweeted after the PR bombshell burst last week. Since then, many have wondered how a 90-year-old man is supposed to survive the flight into space aboard a rocket. Former astronaut Ulrich Walter is calm: “If you look at the astronauts that the European Space Agency selects, there isn’t a single competitive athlete, they are sorted out beforehand. Big muscles need to be exercised, and that’s what you need in weightlessness not. Therefore, competitive athletes in space generally get cardiac arrhythmias. ”

At the age of 90, William Shatner is the oldest person to fly into space

tagesschau24 5:00 p.m., 13.10.2021

Walter also differentiates between real astronauts and so-called “space travelers”, that is, space travelers who experience weightlessness for a few minutes during a suborbital flight. “William Shatner’s suborbital flight is actually just a space hop. Of course it will have to withstand three times the acceleration due to gravity during take-off and landing, but that is not that much. A normal cycle can withstand that. It is also tested beforehand in a centrifuge . “

Record-breaking mission

Instead of his movie spaceship, the “USS Enterprise”, Shatner will launch a “New Shepard” rocket from Texas. There are four passengers on board the mission, including the Vice President of Blue Origin. On Blue Origin’s manned first flight in July, Bezos was on board the space capsule himself, along with his brother, an 18-year-old Dutchman and an 82-year-old former US pilot who is very popular in the USA.

With Shatner’s current space flight, Blue Origin will set a new age record in space. However, Shatner will not get to know the “infinite expanses” of space, which is always mentioned on “Star Trek”: The excursion into weightlessness takes a few minutes, the crew briefly crosses the so-called Kármán Line. This is an internationally defined borderline at a height of 100 kilometers that separates the aerospace industry.

The former astronaut Ulrich Walter has a very clear opinion of how useful such missions are: “This is important because it shows that space travel is more normal than you think. My wish is that as many people as possible come into space Of course, there is still a big difference to a professional astronaut. He has to do experiments on the ISS, maintain the space station and master radio communications, for example. ” Walter hopes that people will become more aware of “the little spaceship Earth” once they have seen the planet from outside space.

It is also busy on the ISS

In addition to the suborbital flights, several space capsules with tourists are also expected to arrive at the ISS in the next few months. A Russian film team took a Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station last week to shoot a feature film there.

The German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will fly to the ISS with SpaceX at the end of October, will also be visited by space tourists. At his last press conference in Germany in September, he was as positive as Walter: “Of course, it’s good when you meet more people in space. People have the same dream as me. They want to see space from the outside.” At the same time, however, he also warned not to further pollute space through commercialization.

William Shatner – here visiting the launch pad – will be the oldest person in space to date.

Image: via REUTERS

How will Bezos’ competitors Branson and Musk react to the Captain Kirk coup? Musk had already carried the ashes of the late actor James Doohan into space with a Falcon 9 rocket in 2012. Doohan played the cult figure “Scotty” alongside Shatner in “Star Trek” – the chief engineer in the engine room who could beam. Without being too prophetic: In the next few years, more VIPs will probably fly into space in headline-grabbing missions. This is just the beginning.

Captain Kirk flies into space. Really.

Marcus Schuler, ARD Los Angeles, October 13, 2021 8:13 am

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William Shatner aka Captain Kirk flies into space

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