William Shatner: how old is Star Trek actor - and did Blue Origin flight make him the oldest person in space?

Video footage of William Shatner, who played Captain James T Kirk in the Star Trek franchise, on board Blue Origin

William Shatner will become the oldest person ever to travel to the edge of space, aboard the Blue Origin suborbital capsule developed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

This is everything you need to know.

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What is the Blue Origin space flight?

It was announced on 4 October that Shatner would be joining Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission and Flight Operations, and crewmates Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries aboard New Shepard NS-18.

Shatner’s trip aboard the rocket system should last around 10 minutes. He will get to experience the feeling of weightlessness and will also be able to see the curvature of the earth from the rocket capsule’s windows.

Speaking about the flight, Shatner said: “I’m thrilled and anxious and a little nervous and a little frightened about this whole new adventure.

William Shatner joins Audrey Powers, Chris Boshnuizen and Glen de Vries aboard the space flight (Photo: Blue Origin)

“But I’ve got to think that once it’s done, once I’ve been into space and seen the universe and seen our earth and the contrast between that hostility and this warmth, and how important it is to keep the earth alive so that we don’t wreck it, we human beings don’t wreck it, that contrast in all of that is so dramatic to me.”

He added: “I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle.”

This flight follows the successful Blue Origin flight on 20 July, which was its first human flight, and included Amazon founder Jeff Bezo, Mark Bezos, aviation pioneer Wally Funk and Blue Origin’s first customer Oliver Daemen.

How old is William Shatner?

William Shatner was born on 22 March 1931, making him 90 years old upon his trip into space.

Speaking to TMZ, American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said that Shatner shouldn’t experience any negative effects from the launch despite his age.

When asked what precautions or training he thinks Shatner should have partaken prior to the flight, Tyson claimed that the rigorous training from the past was “no longer necessary”.

William Shatner at Florida Supercon 2016 at Miami Beach Convention Centre (Photo: Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Florida Supercon)

Tyson said: “The reason they went through all that training [in the old days] was because the capsule might have landed in the middle of nowhere and they’d have to survive for days before anyone found them.

“That is not happening today - we know where you are at all times, we can get to your location basically instantly. So all of that training is no longer necessary.”

Tyson went on to say that Shatner is about to experience weightlessness in zero gravity, and that “if anything is going to kill you, it’s gravity”.

He added: “If William Shatner does die in space, more power to him, because that’s got to be better than dying on earth.”

What is his net worth?

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Shatner boasts an impressive net worth of $100 million, which equates to roughly £73,380,100.

A person’s net worth is calculated by looking at the value of all the non-financial and financial assets they own, minus the value of all its outstanding liabilities.

How can I watch the launch?

You can watch live coverage of the launch on the Blue Origin website, which will begin T-90 minutes beforehand.

The Blue Origin Twitter account explained that the launch day schedule goes as follows:

  • T-7.5 hours: rocket rolls out to launch pad
  • T-3 hours: propellant load begins 
  • T-45 minutes: go for astronaut load and proceed to the launch tower
  • T-35 minutes: astronauts begin load into the crew capsule
  • T-24 minutes: crew capsule hatch closed
William Shatner will become the oldest person to travel to space at the age of 90 (Photo: Blue Origin)

Lift off is currently scheduled for 9am local time, which translates to 3pm UK time, today (Wednesday 13 October).

The flight had originally been scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed for 24 hours due to bad weather at the launch site.

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