This week, space tourism company Blue Origin will be launching a short flight to space and back featuring a very special crew member: Actor William Shatner, aka Star Trek’s Captain Kirk. The launch will be streamed on Wednesday, October 13, and you can watch along live at home.
What to expect from the launch?
Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft will be launched from Launch Site One in West Texas in a mission dubbed NS-18. The launch had originally been scheduled for Tuesday, October 12 but was pushed back by one day due to forecasted winds in West Texas.
The crew for the NS-18 mission will include Star Trek actor William Shatner, as well as Blue Origin team member Audrey Powers, Planet Labs’ Dr. Chris Boshuizen, and Medidata co-founder Glen de Vries.
In a chat posted on Twitter this week, Shatner said he’s looking forward to admiring the view from the ship. “I plan to be looking out the window with my nose pressed against the window,” he said, adding in a nod to The Twilight Zone, “The only thing I don’t want to see is a little gremlin looking back at me!”
This flight follows the July Blue Origin flight which included founder Jeff Bezos. Since then, the company has been dealing with accusations from current and former employees that it fosters a sexist culture and that it prioritizes speed over development over safety — a characterization that company spokespeople have disputed. It has also been engaged in a legal battle with NASA over NASA’s decision to award its lunar lander contrast to the company’s competitor, SpaceX.
These issues aside, many people are excited about the launch and about the inclusion of William Shatner in the crew in particular, thanks to his status as a sci-fi icon.