Captain Kirk’s Blue Origin space flight from Van Horn delayed
VAN HORN, Texas — Actor William Shatner’s first-ever flight into the final frontier will have to wait. The “Star Trek” star’s anticipated trip aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Rocket is being delayed.
In a statement on its website, Blue Origin said the vehicle and astronauts are ready to go. It’s the weather that’s causing an issue for the launch from Van Horn.
“Due to forecasted winds on Tuesday, October 12, Blue Origin’s mission operations team has made the decision to delay the launch of NS-18 and is now targeting Wednesday, October 13. Liftoff from Launch Site One is currently targeted for 8:30 am CDT / 13:30 UTC on Wednesday,” Blue Origin said.
Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is a huge fan of the sci-fi series in which Shatner played Capt. James T. Kirk and even had a cameo as a high-ranking alien in the 2016 film “Star Trek Beyond.” His rocket company invited Shatner to fly as its guest.
Shatner, 90, will become the oldest person to go to space. He’ll join three others — two of them paying customers — aboard a Blue Origin capsule.
Shatner’s flight will last just 10 minutes and reach no higher than about 66 miles (106 kilometers). The capsule will parachute back to the desert floor, not far from where it took off.
This will be Blue Origin’s second launch of a crew. Bezos was on the debut flight on July 20. He took along his brother, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands and 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk — the youngest and oldest to fly in space. Shatner will break that upper threshold by eight years.
“I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle,” Shatner said in a statement.
Shatner played the role of the USS Starship Enterprise’s commander for three seasons, from 1966 to 1969. He also portrayed Captain James T. Kirk in seven movies, directing one of them. He’s currently the host and executive producer of a History Channel show, “The UnXplained.”
The ashes of two other “Star Trek” powerhouses — creator Gene Roddenberry and actor James Doohan, who played Scotty — rocketed into space years ago following their deaths.
Also launching with Shatner: a former NASA engineer who founded a nano-satellite company and the co-founder of a software company specializing in clinical research. The two took part in the auction for a seat on the first flight. That seat cost $28 million; Blue Origin isn’t divulging any other ticket prices.
A fourth seat on the flight is going to Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations, who used to work for NASA as a space station flight controller.
A Blue Origin spokeswoman said Shatner, like the others, met all the company’s health and physical requirements.
Last month, more than 20 current and former Blue Origin employees accused the Kent, Washington-based company of having a toxic work environment and not adhering to proper safety protocols. Blue Origin said it doesn’t tolerate harassment or discrimination and stood by its safety record.
Bezos’ company is also challenging a NASA contract award to SpaceX for providing a lunar lander that will return astronauts to the moon in a few years. Blue Origin was unsuccessful in its bid for the job.
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