Blue Origin has officially confirmed that 90-year-old actor William Shatner, best known for his portrayal of Capt. James T. Kirk on "Star Trek," will join the aerospace company's suborbital spaceflight on Oct. 13. .
"I’ve heard about space for a long time now," Shatner said in a statement. "I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle."
In addition to playing Capt. Kirk on television, Shatner starred in seven "Star Trek" movies, one of which he directed. He also currently serves as the host and executive producer of the History Channel's "The UnXplained," a one-hour, nonfiction series that explores the world’s most fascinating, strange and inexplicable mysteries.
Shatner, who will become the oldest person to travel to space, previously hinted at the possibility of going to space during a San Diego Comic-Con panel discussion entitled "Back to the Moon and Beyond With NASA."
"There's a possibility that I’m going to go up for a brief moment and come back down," Shatner said at the time.
Shatner's participation in the trip was first reported by TMZ last month.
Shatner will be joined by Blue Origin vice president of New Shepard mission and flight operations Audrey Powers.
Powers, who joined Blue Origin in 2013, played a lead role in the multi-year process to certify New Shepard for human flight.
Prior to her current role, she served as Blue Origin's deputy general counsel and vice president of legal and compliance. Before becoming a lawyer, Powers worked as a flight controller with NASA, racking up 2,000 hours of console time in the agency's mission control for the International Space Station program. In addition to serving as executive sponsor of Blue Origin’s New Mercury gender diversity business resource group, she is a pilot and serves as the chair of the Board of Directors of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
"I’m so proud and humbled to fly on behalf of Team Blue, and I’m excited to continue writing Blue’s human spaceflight history," said Powers. "As an engineer and lawyer with more than two decades of experience in the aerospace industry, I have great confidence in our New Shepard team and the vehicle we’ve developed."
Rounding out the crew are former NASA engineer and Planet Labs co-founder Dr. Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries, Medidata co-founder and Dassault Systèmes vice chair of life sciences and health care.
The October trip comes after Blue Origin completed its first successful crewed suborbital spaceflight in July, which flew 66.5 miles above Earth. Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos was joined on the flight by his brother Mark, 82-year-old aerospace pioneer Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, who replaced a mystery auction winner who paid $28 million for a seat.
It also comes as Blue Origin is facing multiple allegations outlined in an essay by a group of 21 former and current employees, including creating an unsafe working environment for female employees, ignoring safety and environmental concerns and engaging in a "suppression of dissent" to avoid internal criticism. The safety concerns raised by the employees are under review by the Federal Aviation Administration.
"Blue Origin has no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind. We provide numerous avenues for employees, including a 24/7 anonymous hotline, and will promptly investigate any new claims of misconduct," a spokesperson for the company previously told FOX Business. "We stand by our safety record and believe that New Shepard is the safest space vehicle ever designed or built."
This story was originally published on October 11, 2021.