Blue Origin: Star Trek Capt. Kirk’s William Shatner on his way to blast in space

VAN HORN, Texas – Actor William Shatner on Wednesday counted down to his wildest role yet: driving a rocket into space, thanks to “Star Trek” fan Jeff Bezos.

Best known for his role as Captain Kirk, the 90-year-old Shatner joined three other passengers for the planned launch from West Texas.

Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin, invited Shatner on the short trip to the edge of the last frontier, which will make him the oldest person in space.

It will be Blue Origin’s second passenger flight with the same capsule and rocket that Bezos used for its own launch three months ago. The trip should only last 10 minutes, with the fully automatic capsule reaching a maximum altitude of about 106 kilometers, before parachuting back into the desert.

Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson launched the US-based space tourism boom on July 11 and drove his own rocket into space. Bezos followed nine days later aboard his own capsule. Elon Musk was left behind when his SpaceX company launched its first private flight last month, sending a billionaire, cancer survivor and two ticket winners into orbit.

And last week, the Russians sent an actor and film director to the International Space Station for filmmaking.

“We’re just in the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is. How extraordinary it is to be a part of that beginning,” Shatner said in a Blue Origin video that set the threshold for his flight. “It looks like there’s a big curiosity that this fictional character, Captain Kirk, is going out into space. So let’s go along with it and enjoy the ride.”

Rounding out the crew: a Blue Origin vice president and two entrepreneurs who unsuccessfully bid for a spot on the previous flight with Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Blue Origin did not disclose their fares.

Bezos was at the expansive launch and landing site near Van Horn, Texas, to watch the four go out.

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Dunn reported from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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