VAN HORN, Texas – As William Shatner prepares to be beamed up today for his first real-life spaceflight, and to become at 90 the oldest person ever to enter the final frontier, he's bringing out the awe around a rural Texas spaceport.
Shatner's 10-minute trip with three others on the second passenger flight from Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin will be more like the first space launches of the 1960s than the fictional galactic voyages of the Starship Enterprise on “Star Trek,” but the very idea of him leaving the atmosphere is powerful.
“It's time Captain Kirk actually physically got up into space. I'm kind of excited about that,” said Becky Brewster, mayor of Van Horn, a rural town of about 1,800 people on what was once desolate desert ranchland in far West Texas that has been transformed by the presence of the Blue Origin spaceport facilities 25 miles away.
“He and Mr. Spock were the ones that got me interested in space and science fiction and everything else,” Brewster said.
A Twitter user asked Shatner, an avid tweeter, on Tuesday whether he will post from space. “I cannot bring my phone but I've prearranged a little something,” Shatner replied with a wink emoji.
Earlier in the week he tweeted a photo of himself and his fellow crew members in blue flight suits that are far more futuristic than the yellow leotard-style uniform he wore on the original “Star Trek.” “Aren't we all adorbs!” Shatner said.
Bezos, who was on Blue Origin's debut flight in July, is also a big “Star Trek” fan, and invited Shatner to take the flight as a guest.