William Shatner was poised to become the oldest person ever to go into space in the latest flight of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, after the mission was put on hold for about 30 minutes for what was described as “vehicle readiness.”
The launch was scheduled to take place at 7 AM PT.
Shatner, 90, was being joined by three other crew members in what will be a 15-minute, suborbital space flight on the New Shepard craft. They began heading to the launch site with Bezos after word that the hold was lifted.
Cable news channels covered the launch, filling airtime with commentary from space experts and former astronauts. Networks extensively covered Bezos’ spaceflight last summer, and Shatner’s addition to as a passenger undoubtedly added to the attention for the latest mission.
A scheduled launch for Sunday was delayed due to bad weather.
Last week, Shatner spoke at New York’s Comic Con and said , “I’m terrified. I’m Captain Kirk, and I’m terrified. I’m not really terrified — yes I am. It comes and goes like a summer cold. I’m planning on putting my nose against the window [once I’m in space], and my only hope is I won’t see someone else looking back.”
When it was announced that he would be on the flight, Shatner said 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.”
Also on the flight was Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations, as well as two who paid for the mission, Glen de Vries and Chris Boshuizen. Shatner’s ride was comped by Blue Origin.
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