Blue Origin: Star Trek’s Captain Kirk’s William Shatner about to explode in space

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VAN HORN, Texas – Actor William Shatner scored his craziest role on Wednesday – piloting a rocket in space, courtesy of “Star Trek” fan Jeff Bezos.

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

Bezos’ space travel company Blue Origin has invited Shatner on a brief jaunt to the edge of the Last Frontier, which will make him the oldest person in space.

This will be Blue Origin’s second passenger flight, using the same capsule and rocket Bezos used for his own launch three months ago. The trip is only expected to last 10 minutes, with the fully automated capsule reaching a maximum altitude of around 66 miles (106 kilometers) before parachuting back into the desert.

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

And last week the Russians sent an actor and director to the International Space Station to make films.

“We’re only at the beginning, but how miraculous that start is. How amazing it is to be a part of this start,” Shatner said in a Blue Origin video posted the day before his flight. “Looks like there’s a lot of curiosity about this fictional character, Captain Kirk, going into space. So let’s go and enjoy the ride.”

To complete the crew: a vice president of Blue Origin and two entrepreneurs who bid unsuccessfully for a seat on the previous flight with Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Blue Origin has not disclosed the price of its tickets.

Bezos was at the sprawling launch and landing site near Van Horn, Texas to watch the four take off.

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Dunn reported from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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