The Star Trek actor William Shatner became the oldest ever astronaut as the 90-year-old blasts into space, courtesy of Jeff Bezos.
Blue Origin’s rocket ship, owned by Amazon founder Bezos and called New Shepard, launched from Texas on Wednesday at 10am Eastern US time.
Shatner is famous for his role as Captain James T Kirk in the science fiction franchise, Star Trek.
Bezos, a Star Trek fan, invited the actor along with three others – a Blue Origin President and two entrepreneurs – for a 10-minute ride from West Texas into orbit on the 60-foot rocket.
The fully automated capsule is expected to reach an altitude of 66 miles from Earth before parachuting back to the ground in Texas.
It was Blue Origin’s second scheduled passenger flight but will use the same capsule and rocket Bezos used for his launch three months ago.
Blue Origin launch commentator Jacki Cortese said: “This is a pinch-me moment for all of us to see Captain James Tiberius Kirk go to space.”
Shatner said in a Blue Origin video on Tuesday evening: “We’re just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is. How extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning.”
Shatner was invited to ride for free, but the two entrepreneurs allegedly paid an undisclosed amount for their tickets.
Space adventure has seen a resurgence of interest this year – Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson rode his own rocket ship to space in July.
Bezos followed suit nine days later in his own capsule, while fellow billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX company sent its own tourist flight into orbit last month.
Russians also sent an actor and film director to the International Space Station to make a movie last week.