WILLIAM SHATNER: “What a thing to have – ‘he’s the oldest guy that went into space!’”
The suspense is building for space junkies and "Star Trek" fans ahead of Blue Origin’s rocket launch with TV’s Captain Kirk - actor William Shatner – who at age 90 will become the oldest person to travel to space.
SHATNER: “I want to have the vision, I want to see space, I want to see the Earth, I want to see what we need to do to save Earth, I want to have a perspective that hasn’t been shown to me before.”
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket launch – originally scheduled for Tuesday – was postponed for 24 hours due to high winds.
The four-person flight will now blast off Wednesday from the west Texas town of Van Horn.
The flight is expected to roughly follow the duration and path of the company’s inaugural commercial trip on July 20th when founder Jeff Bezos and three other passengers flew some 66 miles above Earth, experiencing a few minutes of weightlessness, before their crew capsule parachuted safely back to the floor of the Texas desert.
The whole trip lasted just over 10 minutes.
On board was aviation pioneer Wally Funk, who at 82 became the oldest person to launch into space at the time – a record Shatner will shatter.
Joining him Wednesday will be former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, Blue Origin Vice President and engineer Audrey Powers and clinical research entrepreneur Glen de Vries.
The launch comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it will review safety concerns raised by former and current Blue Origin employees who said the company prioritized speed and cost savings over safety – something Blue Origin’s Powers was asked about Tuesday on the “CBS Mornings” show.
POWERS: “Well, that just hasn’t been my experience at Blue. We’re exceedingly thorough. I’ve worked on New Shepard for eight years now in a variety of roles and I can’t say enough about the team of professionals that work on this program.”
The company did not disclose how much any of the passengers had paid or whether any had been allowed to fly for free, though Shatner said Blue Origin approached him about taking the flight – and has admitted he’s a bit nervous about really heading to space.
"CBS MORNINGS" HOST GAYLE KING: “I look forward to your return – all of you. Good luck, good luck, good luck.”
SHATNER: “And so do we, look forward to our return." [laughter]