William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News
  •  Liftoff expected at 3:30pm BST

It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for ageing television sci-fi stars.

William Shatner is about to make history as the oldest ever person to go to space. The 90-year-old actor, who starred as Captain James T Kirk in Star Trek, is due to blast off to the final frontier.

Mr Shatner will become the first nonagenarian to achieve the feat as he sits upfront a New Shepard rocket launched by Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space tourism company.

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3:26PM

Wally Funk delivers a surprise message

The current record holder for the oldest person to ever go to space has a message for the man who is about to steal her crown.

“I hope this flight will be the most fantastic experience of your life, as it was mine,” the 82-year old former NASA engineer said in a surprise message broadcast into the spacecraft.

3:22PM

Jeff Bezos closes the hatch

The lifelong Star Trek fan has sealed his childhood hero inside… 

3:16PM

Shatner climbs aboard

T-15 minutes… 

3:11PM

The final preparations in pictures

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News

Blue Origin’s New Shepard sits on the launch pad prior to lift off carrying 90-year-old Star Trek actor William Shatner and three other civilians

Credit:
Mario Tama /Getty Images North America

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News

A rather nervous looking William Shatner is driven to the launch site by Jeff Bezos along with his fellow crew members

Credit:
JOSE ROMERO /AFP

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News

Onlookers assemble to watch before a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket is scheduled to blast off

Credit:
JOE SKIPPER /REUTERS

3:01PM

The crew climb aboard

As we inch closer to launch, the Blue Origin crew has reached the rocket and will now climb aboard for their 11 minute sojourn to the great beyond.

Meanwhile, those at Mission Control are going through their final safety checks…

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News

Staff monitor Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket as it is prepared for mission NS-18,

Credit:
BLUE ORIGIN /via REUTERS 

2:49PM

T-45 minutes to liftoff

The launch has been delayed slightly, but the astronauts, including Mr Shatner himself, are now on the way to the launch pad where they will be loaded up into the rocket ready for launch!

Jeff Bezos himself is the man charged with driving a rather nervous looking Mr Shatner and his fellow astronauts

2:44PM

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News

William Shatner: ‘I shall be entranced by the view of space’

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News
2:30PM

Blue Origin prepare for launch in pictures

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News

The Blue Origin crew, from left, Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries

Credit:
via AP/Blue Origin 

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News

“Star Trek” actor William Shatner is presented with a challenge coins before the suborbital flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard mission NS-18 near Van Horn, Texas

Credit:
BLUE ORIGIN /via REUTERS 

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News

A mural of billionaire Jeff Bezos and his space company Blue Origin adorns the side of an empty building at the Texas launch site

Credit:
MIKE BLAKE /REUTERS

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News

News media prepare for the launch of Blue Origin’s NS-18

Credit:
PATRICK T. FALLON /AFP

2:17PM

Space tourism race heats up

For Blue Origin this mission, the second in less than three months, represents another step forward as it tries to establish itself as space tourism’s leading player.

Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen, and Glen de Vries, a co-founder of clinical research platform Medidata Solutions, will bring the company’s total number of paying customers to three – though prices haven’t been disclosed.

The competition is heating up.

, William Shatner travels to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin crew – watch live, The Evepost BBC News

Virgin Galactic’s passenger rocket plane VSS Unity after reaching the edge of space above Spaceport America

Credit:
REUTERS

Richard Branson inaugurated his space tourism on July 11, riding along on a suborbital flight with six others aboard his company’s VSS Unity rocket plane.

Virgin Galactic, which offers a similar experience of a few minutes’ weightlessness and a view of the Earth’s curvature from the cosmos, managed to launch a few days before Mr Bezos.

And in September, SpaceX sent four private citizens on a three-day trip whizzing around the planet – an altogether more ambitious, but also likely far more expensive endeavor. 

It was the first-all civilian crew to reach Earth’s orbit in a three-day mission ending September 18.

2:04PM

Shatner shares his excitement on Twitter

Judging by his tweetstorm last night, it’s safe to say he’s excited…

1:59PM

William Shatner the oldest person ever to reach space

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the latest Blue Origin expedition to space. I’m Marcus Parekh, here to take you through William Shatner’s historic flight.

The 90-year-old actor, who starred as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, is due to blast off to the final frontier. He will become the first nonagenarian to achieve the feat as he sits upfront a New Shepard rocket launched by Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space tourism company.

At 90, Mr Shatner will pass Wally Funk as the oldest person to ever travel to the great beyond. Ms Funk, a former NASA engineer, was 82 years old when she joined Jeff Bezos on Blue Origin’s first ever flight into space back in July.

He is due to blast off from the Texas desert at 9am local time (3pm UK time) on Wednesday and the flight will be streamed online at the top of this page. 

The trip will last about 10 minutes but he will cross the Karman line at 100km (62 miles) up, which is widely regarded as the start of space, and he will experience weightlessness.