To oldly go: Shatner, 90, inspires with real-life space trip
VAN HORN, Texas (AP) — As William Shatner prepares to be beamed up Wednesday 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 in the small handful of people 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.
The mayor, a lifelong “Star Trek” fan, said she was disappointed she wasn't invited to the launch site but is savoring the moment anyway. She's planning to watch from her backyard with the livestream playing.
“He and Mr. Spock were the ones that got me interested in space and science fiction and and everything else," Brewster said. “So, from junior high age up to now where William Shatner is actually in our town fixing to go up into space. You know, it’s kind of like the whole circle now for me.”
Beyond his celebrity identity, Shatner being space-bound at his age is a kick for close observers.
Joseph Barra, who works as a bartender for a Los Angeles catering company, heard only that he was getting an unusual gig at a remote Texas launch site.
“I’m like stop. You had me at space. Had no clue what else,” Barra said. “And then all I heard was their gonna send some 90-year-old man into...