When Star Trek first aired in 1966, Americans had not yet walked on the moon, and the idea that humans could ever live and work in space was still a long way off.
On Wednesday, William Shatner, who played the famous Captain Kirk in the iconic series, was the first cast to embark on a journey to the “frontier of infinity”.
He, along with three other passengers from West Texas, embarks on a suborbital flight on a Blue Origin rocket, the second man to billionaire Jeff Bezos’ company.
This pop culture phenomenon that has inspired generations of astronauts is an event that will delight fans.
The takeoff, scheduled for Tuesday, October 12, has been postponed by a day due to inclement weather.
“I plan to keep my nose glued to the window. The only thing I don’t want to see is Grammine looking at me from the other side,” the Canadian actor joked in a video posted by Blue Origin.
At age 90, he becomes the biggest man to ever reach space.
The decision of Blue Origin to invite one of the most famous sci-fi space travelers is not an innocent one: it should help maintain public interest in the race between many private companies in the field.
In July, just days before British billionaire Richard Branson’s Jeff Bezos, he boarded the New Shepherd Rocket’s first manned spacecraft – the Virgin Galaxy – carrying the same William Shatner.
SpaceX, for its part, sent four astronauts into orbit around the Earth for three days in September, the subject of the Netflix series.
“Taking a celebrity like William Shatner, who is associated with space, brings a kind of renaissance and creates media attention,” Joe Cazabovsky, a public relations expert at the University of North Carolina, told AFP.
The original Star Trek series was discontinued after three seasons, but sequels and more than a dozen films subsequently fueled the phenomenon.
Captain Kirk led a five-year mission to “explore strange new worlds, discover new lives, and other civilizations.”
His actual journey into space is very short: a total of ten minutes, four of which are at zero gravity. The spacecraft will go slightly above the Karman line, marking the space boundary at an altitude of 100 km, according to the International Conference.
The Star Trek series focused on occupying space in America, and later in its infancy, also addressed social issues.
The cast was very diverse when America was in the civil rights movement. In 1968, when William Shatner and African-American actress Nichel Nicholas kissed, it was the first kiss between a white man and a man of color on American television.
The series is also linked to the American Space Program.
NASA’s first spacecraft was named “Enterprise” after Captain Kirk’s spacecraft. In the 1970s, Nichel Nicholas created a video recruiting NASA astronauts, especially women and minorities. Other actors attended American agency meetings or provided their voices for documentaries.
“For 50 years, Star Trek has inspired generations of scientists, engineers and even astronauts,” declared American astronaut Victor Glover, in a documentary on the research done in the series and the parallels between what he did today. International Space Station.
Another famous Star Trek fan? Jeff Bezos himself. For example, Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, explained how Star Trek was inspired by a computer.
The billionaire appeared, unrecognized under alien makeup, in one image: “Star Trek Without Limit” (2016).
William Shatner’s fame and his jokes – as he predicted in an interview with CNN, the New Shepherd Rocket, which often mocks its folic angle, “space program insulted” – are also welcome for Blue Origin.
The company has been accused by some employees – past and present – of maintaining a “toxic” work environment where sexism is ubiquitous. In a text published online at the end of September, these employees denounced the lack of staff, resources and extreme pressure to reduce costs and delays, which could affect aviation safety.
Blue Origin has denied the allegations.