Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin will blast William Shatner — the Canadian actor who famously played Captain Kirk in the original “Star Trek” TV series — to the edge of space Wednesday morning.
The sci-fi actor, 90, will officially become the oldest person to have ever traveled to space — even topping the record set by Wally Funk 82, earlier this year on Blue Origin’s first crewed flight.
“I shall be entranced by the view of space,” Shatner said in a video that Blue Origin posted online Tuesday.
The launch, which was initially scheduled for Tuesday, was delayed by one day due to high winds.
Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations are also joining the flight, alongside previously announced crew members Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Medidata co-founder Glen de Vries.
The flight, which is slated to launch from Blue Origin’s facility in Van Horn, Texas, is expected to last about 11 minutes and see its crew travel past the internationally recognized boundary of space, called the Karman Line, about 62 miles above Earth.
The latest launch comes amid a wave of interest from the public, billionaire entrepreneurs and investors as competition in the new-age space race heats up.
This summer, Blue Origin rival Virgin Galactic shot its founder Sir Richard Branson into space just a week before Bezos took the trip.
And the excitement in the sector has given SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk’s net worth a boost, with his company now valued above $100 billion.
It’s Blue Origin’s second flight to carry a group of private astronauts to the edge of space with its New Shepard rocket.
Bezos, 57, first went up to space in July alongside his brother Mark Bezos, pioneering pilot Funk, and rich Dutch student Oliver Daemen, who became the youngest person to go to space at age 18.
The foursome reached heights of 66.5 miles above Earth on New Shepard and spent about 10 minutes off the ground.
“I … want to thank every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all this,” Bezos told reporters after returning from the trip.
“So seriously, for every Amazon customer out there, and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart, very much. It’s very appreciated.”
A Blue Origin flight lasts a little over 10 minutes. The rocket soars just past the official US boundary of space and gives the crew a couple of minutes in microgravity before returning to Earth, touching down with the help of parachutes.
The company’s latest launch comes as it faces mounting problems. The Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing safety concerns raised last month by a group of 21 current and former employees in an anonymous essay.
The letter alleged a toxic and sexist environment at Blue Origin and said that the majority of signatories would not feel safe riding the company’s rockets to space.
“Blue Origin has been lucky that nothing has happened so far,” one anonymous engineer who signed on to the letter is quoted as saying. The letter adds that “teams are stretched beyond reasonable limits.”
In response, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith did not admit any wrongdoing or apologize in an email to employees, instead assuring employees that the rocket-maker has “no tolerance for discrimination or harassment.”