Star Trek: The Original Series can be a polarizing thing within the original fandom. It’s like the magnetic poles, where you always get together with each other. TOS is rightly the butt of many jokes. Even die-hard fans can make the most of it, and for good reason. But there’s also a good reason there are so many fans to roast. It’s easy to fall in love with the characters, the ship, and the very premise of exploring deep space with your friends. It makes it exciting to relay the following news: William Shatner, the living version of our Captain Kirk timeline, is going to get on a rocket and fly into space.
The flight is scheduled to take off on the morning of Tuesday, October 12. Shatner will be part of a crew of four, taking off Blue Origin’s New Shepard from a launch pad in Texas. The ship’s crew includes three others. Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen will be on board the flight, as will Medidata co-founder Glen de Vries. The fourth crew member is Audrey Powers, an executive at Blue Origin, formerly NASA flight controller, who now oversees the flight operations of the New Shepard program.
“Yeah, that’s right,” Shatner said on Twitter. “I’m going to be a” rocket man! “As captain of the Enterprise, he commanded a five-year mission” to explore strange new worlds, seek new life and new civilizations, boldly go where no man has gone before. This flight ten minutes just beyond the Karman Line will be a brief recreational cruise in comparison, worthy of a retired captain laurel. At age 90, over 50 years after starting TOS, Shatner would become “the most beautiful person.” oldest to have flown in space ”- and the first Star Trek actor to personally reach the last frontier.
Even though he’s the first, he’s in good company: several Star Trek actors have sought a chance to return to the sky in real life. In 2015, Nichelle Nichols (who played Uhura) joined a group of scientists and educators aboard SOFIA, NASA’s Flying Stratospheric Observatory. And James Doohan, who played Enterprise chief engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, really made his wish to have a part of himself among the stars come true. An intrepid space tourist slipped a portrait of the actor and some of his ashes aboard the International Space Station in 2008. The space ferryman says he hid the light memorial under the floor of the Columbus module, and they’re still there under the coating, as far as we know.
Read this, and you can hear it in Captain Kirk’s soft voice with a note of wonder: “I’ve heard about space for a long time now,” Shatner said. “I take this opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle.”