William Shatner is officially space-bound. Shatner, the 90-year-old actor who plate Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise in the Star Trek: The Original Series and seven subsequent films, will board the New Shepard NS-18's crew for its October 12th launch. Blue Origin confirmed Shatner's involvement today after rumors began circulating last week, as well as that of Audrey Powers, Blue Origin's Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations. They join Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries as the ship's crew. Shatner has previously expressed some interest in space travel, though he imagined flying alongside Elon Musk.
"I've heard about space for a long time now. I'm taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle," Shatner says in a press release.
Two incredible and inspirational people will join the #NS18 crew. Actor @WilliamShatner and Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations Audrey Powers @AudreyKPowers. pic.twitter.com/xqI9nw1KX8— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) October 4, 2021
Though best known for playing Captain Kirk in Star Trek, Shatner has acted in T.J. Hooker and Boston Legal. He's also a director, recording artist, and horseman. According to the press release, Shatner "has long wanted to travel to space." He will become the oldest person to venture into outer space.
Currently, Shatner hosts and executive produces The UnXplained on The History Channel. From the producers of Ancient Aliens and The Curse of Oak Island, The UnXplained is a one-hour non-fiction series that explores the world's most fascinating, strange, and inexplicable mysteries.
Blue Origin is a privately funded aerospace manufacturer that conducts sub-orbital spaceflights. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000. In July, the company had its first crewed mission with Bezos himself part of the New Shepard's crew. Saturday Night Live poked fun at Bezos' interstellar ambitions with a well-timed Star Trek parody during its season premiere.
Audrey Powers has been at Blue Origin since 2013 and no one is more familiar with the #NewShepard vehicle and its operations. Audrey had 2000 hours on console for the ISS, is a pilot, engineer, sponsor of the New Mercury resource group at Blue, and Chair of @csf_spaceflight. pic.twitter.com/f3J9fBHCI5— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) October 4, 2021
Powers was a NASA flight controller with 2,000 hours of console time working with the International Space Station Program. She's now the executive sponsor of Blue Origin's New Mercury gender diversity business resource group, a pilot, and the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
"I'm so proud and humbled to fly on behalf of Team Blue, and I'm excited to continue writing Blue's human spaceflight history," Powers says. "I was part of the amazing effort we assembled for New Shepard's Human Flight Certification Review, a years-long initiative completed in July 2021. As an engineer and lawyer with more than two decades of experience in the aerospace industry, I have great confidence in our New Shepard team and the vehicle we've developed."
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