William Shatner’s much-anticipated trip to the edge of space will have to wait a day because high winds in west Texas prompted spaceflight company Blue Origin to postpone the voyage.
Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the launch from the spaceport in Van Horn, Texas, will now take place at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Blue Origin said in a statement Sunday.
“As part of today’s Flight Readiness Review, the mission operations team confirmed the vehicle has met all mission requirements and astronauts began their training today,” Blue Origin said. “Weather is the only gating factor for the launch window.”
The National Weather Service predicted strong winds for the mountains north of Van Horn through Tuesday, and a hazardous weather outlook was in effect for the region Sunday as gusts were expected to reach nearly 75 mph.
Shatner, 90, would be the oldest person to travel to space when Blue Origin’s New Shepard 4 vehicle, which includes a rocket engine and a capsule, reaches the boundary of space.
The suborbital limit of the mission, dubbed NS-18, means the “Star Trek” legend will boldly go where no nonagenarian has gone before for only a few minutes.
He is expected to be joined by three other passengers: Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations; Glen de Vries, a co-founder of medical research platform Medidata; and Chris Boshuizen, a tech entrepreneur. The latter two paid for their tickets, expected to cost more than $250,000 each.
Shatner said on NBC’s “TODAY” show last week that he had been invited. Amazon’s executive chairman, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, tweeted that Shatner is described by the word “Legend.”
Shatner expressed nonchalance about his expected spaceflight milestone. Asked how he would prepare for the voyage, he said, “I had some apple pie last night.”
He did have some seemingly well-thought-out words to describe the trip, telling “TODAY”: “I’m going to see the vastness of space and the extraordinary miracle of our Earth and how fragile it is compared to the forces at work in the universe — that’s really what I’m looking for.”
In July Bezos himself took the company’s official inaugural trip to space alongside his brother and two other people. It was the first unpiloted suborbital flight with an all-civilian crew.