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William Shatner to rocket to edge of space with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin

Captain Kirk won't be zipping between planets like on Star Trek, but he'll reach suborbital space.

William Shatner speaks at a Star Trek convention.
Amanda Kooser/CNET

It's been decades since William Shatner first suited up to play the iconic role of Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek in the 1960s. The actor's about to get a lot closer to his fictional counterpart's accomplishments. Blue Origin announced Monday that Shatner is signed up to catch a rocket ride to suborbital space.

Rumors had been swirling that Shatner, who turned 90 this year, would be on the passenger roster for the second crewed flight by the space company run by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The rocket-powered New Shepard NS-18 mission is scheduled to take off from Blue Origin's West Texas launch facility on Oct. 12 at 6:30 a.m. PT. The company will livestream the launch. 

Blue Origin already announced last week that former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of satellite imaging company Planet Labs, and entrepreneur Glen de Vries, an executive with French software company Dassault Systemes, would be on that trip. Besides Shatner, the company also added Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations, Audrey Powers, to the journey.

While there have been some intense discussions about what qualifies as reaching "space," Shatner could become the oldest person to fly to space, eclipsing aviation pioneer Wally Funk, who was 82 years old when she flew on board New Shepard's first crewed flight on July 20. That accomplishment earned Funk what may be a short-lived Guinness World Record.

Bezos himself went along for that initial crewed flight, opening the door for other joyriders to log some time experiencing weightlessness. Shatner has been pretending to live in space since forever. Now he'll get a tantalizing taste of the real thing.

Said Shatner in a statement, "I've heard about space for a long time now. I'm taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle."

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