ASTRONAUT EXCLUSIVE: Rocket Man
SFX|February 2022
It’s not exactly the final frontier, but William Shatner still wowed the world by flying into space
William Shatner

STAR TREK AND REAL SPACE flight have crossed paths before. A Space Shuttle test orbiter was christened Enterprise. Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space, appeared in The Next Generation. Two astronauts cameoed in Enterprise. But all of those were knocked into a cocked hat on 13 October 2021, when James T Kirk himself blasted off – a flight documented in Amazon special Shatner In Space.

The idea came from producer Jason Ehrlich, whom Shatner worked with on celebrity travel show Better Late Than Never. It was Ehrlich who contacted Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, proposing a rather more far-flung destination. “We go to their HQ,” Shatner tells Red Alert, “and in the lobby are all these spaceships from Star Trek. There’s Jeff Bezos hovering, and we took pictures. Then we sit down with his advisors and talk about what we’d like to do. They say, ‘This is a great idea, we’ll call you back.’ And then Covid hits.”

When the crew of Blue Origin’s first manned flight was announced, the 90-year-old Shatner didn’t make the cut. That’s that, it seemed. Until a call offering a seat on the second flight. “I said to Jason, ‘Second time is like getting the Vice President job. I don’t want to go. It’s too much trouble. There’s that O-ring thing [cause of the Challenger disaster], there’s the Hindenburg…’ Then I had time to think about it, and thought, ‘Y’know, the thrill of going up there might be interesting…’”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

RELATED STORIES

WILLIAM SHATNER, TV'S CAPT. KIRK, BLASTS INTO SPACE

Hollywood’s Captain Kirk, 90-year-old William Shatner, blasted into space Wednesday in a convergence of science fiction and science reality, reaching the final frontier aboard a ship built by JeffBezos’ Blue Origin company.

3 mins read
Techlife News
October 16, 2021

WILLIAM SHATNER WILL FLY TO SPACE ABOARD BLUE ORIGIN ROCKET

Captain Kirk is rocketing into space next week — boldly going where no other sci-fi stars have gone.

3 mins read
AppleMagazine
Ocotber 08, 2021

WARP-SPEED SHATNER HEADED FOR CRACK-UP!

DYNAMIC “Star Trek” legend William Shatner still has plenty of get up and go at age 90. But sources dished the space case thinks he’s invincible and loved ones are begging him to slow down before he hurts himself!

1 min read
National Enquirer
August 09, 2021

Shatner: William is so wrong to boldly go and attack space tourism

STAR Trek actor turned spaceman William Shatner has fired back at Prince William after the royal slammed selfish space tourists.

1 min read
Daily Express
October 16, 2021

PRINCE GETS A ROCKET FROM CAPT. KIRK

STAR Trek actor turned spaceman William Shatner has fired back at Prince William after the royal slammed space tourists, saying: "He's got the wrong idea."

1 min read
Daily Record
October 16, 2021

‘Dirty industry can be sent into space'

STAR Trek legend William Shatner has hit back at Prince William in a row over climate change and the billionaire space race.

1 min read
Daily Star
October 16, 2021

Final Frontier as Shatner sent to space

STAR Trek's William Shatner has made history as the oldest person in space after blasting off from the Texas desert in a rocket built by Jeff Bezos's company.

1 min read
Manchester Evening News
October 14, 2021

To oldly go: Shatner's joy at real-life space mission

William Shatner said he was ‘overwhelmed’ as he returned to Earth after an 11-minute trip to space. At 90, Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in Star Trek, became the world’s oldest astronaut.

4 mins read
The Guardian
October 14, 2021