Blue Origin announces crew members for next launch - will Captain Kirk be going into space?

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Blue Origin is launching its next space crew on October 12. Two names have been announced with the rest to be announced later. One of those as-yet-unnamed crew members may turn out to be William Shatner, a.k.a. Star Trek’s Captain Kirk. If it happens, Shatner will hold the title of the oldest person to fly into outer space.

It could very well happen. Shatner is fired up to go and all that is left is for some of the “finer points” in the details to be worked out, according to a source. There is caution in the message as the source says, “It’s not a done deal yet” that Shatner will be onboard of the New Shepard rocket in October. “He’s almost certainly going but they’re still working out the finer points. It’s just not totally confirmed yet.” Shatner’s trip will be filmed as a documentary. It sounds as though the details for filming the documentary are what is holding up the confirmation of Shatner’s seat on the New Shepard next month.

Though he won’t be boldly going where no man’s gone before — because Bezos and his Blue Origin crew already did it — sources with direct knowledge tell TMZ … the 90-year-old actor is slated to be part of the second crew to take the space flight in the New Shepard capsule. That would make him the oldest person ever to be launched into space.

Our sources say the mission will be filmed for a documentary. We’re told Shatner’s people were talking to Discovery about the special, but that didn’t materialize … but our sources say Shatner and Co. have taken the project elsewhere and are in negotiations.

It’s also unclear what Shatner’s paying for his spot onboard New Shepard … our sources believe he’s being comped, which would be a smart move for Bezos. You may recall with Blue Origin’s first flight … the final civilian seat went for more than $20 million at auction, and was given to Daemen (whose father is super rich).

The two announced crew members for the next space flight are Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, vice-chair of life sciences and health care at Dassault Systèmes. It is a four-member crew so two more names will be announced. It will launch from West Texas, as the first one with Bezos onboard did in July.

The mission is scheduled to launch Oct. 12 at 8:30 a.m. CDT from Launch Site One, a private launch facility north of Van Horn, on the 63-foot-tall New Shepard suborbital rocket system.

The rocket and capsule will launch together and climb roughly 47 miles above sea level. Then the capsule will separate and coast above the Kármán line that’s 62 miles above the Earth. The booster will return for a controlled, rocket-powered vertical landing. The spacecraft will descend more slowly, giving occupants time to admire the Earth and do a few somersaults.

Three drogue parachutes, which are used to slow and stabilize the capsule, will be deployed several thousand feet above the Earth. These are followed by three main parachutes. Then, just before touchdown, a retro-thrust system will expel a cloud of air beneath the capsule.

Jimmy Kimmel included Shatner in his opening monologue

Kimmel then pivoted to discuss “the original Captain Kirk” William Shatner, who at 90 years old, is set to become the oldest human and “first T.J. Hooker” ever launched into space.

“Shatner is reportedly set to sail on the next civilian space flight from Blue Origin, the company owned by Jeff Bezos,” the host explained, “so once again, our nation’s newscasters took the opportunity to let their creativity shine.”

He then launched into a quick-cutting montage of broadcasters making the same statement, in more or less the same hackneyed phrasing: “Captain Kirk is set to boldly go where no other 90-year-old has gone before.”

“You did it again, people,” Kimmel deadpanned. “You really nailed that one.”

Remember when late-night show hosts were actually funny? It’s getting hard to do that anymore. Kimmel’s monologue is a good example that mostly they revert to snark. Hopefully, Shatner will have the last laugh. He can go up on the 15-minute ride and film his adventure. He’s 90 years old, as long as he’s healthy enough to do it, more power to him.