The Star Trek actor will boldly go where no 90-year-old has gone before, becoming the oldest person to ever fly to space.
The New Shepard NS-18 flight was originally scheduled for Tuesday but was delayed due to windy weather at the Texas launch site.
The lift-off has been rescheduled for 9am CDT (3pm BST), with a live stream of the mission beginning 90 minutes before the launch – available at the top of this page.
Joining Shatner on the flight is Blue Origin Vice President Audrey Powers, former Nasa engineer Chris Boshuizen and Medidata CEO Glen de Vries. It comes less than three months after Jeff Bezos made the same 11-minute trip aboard the first ever crewed New Shepard rocket.
We’ll have all the latest updates from the launch in our live blog below, as well as well as a live stream of the event on this page.
Blue Origin launch on hold
The Blue Origin launch countdown has been put on hold.
It’s currently stuck at T-45 mins, meaning the four crew members will have to wait in the car with Jeff Bezos until it gets going again.
This is nothing unusual for a launch like this, as a variety of factors all need to line up before it can take place. It appears that this delay is weather related, with the winds in West Texas slightly higher than desired.
We’ll let you know as soon as we have any updates.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 14:25
Jeff Bezos wishes Blue Origin crew ‘godspeed’ ahead of launch
Blue Origin boss Jeff Bezos will be the only one heading up the launch tower with the crew today.
He’s actually kitted out in a flight suit and is driving the crew to the launch pad.
He’s surely got plenty of advice and tips to give, having made this exact trip just three months ago.
“You’re about to share an experience that will forever change how you view the world,” he tweeted a few minutes ago. “Godspeed. This is how it starts.”
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 14:20
‘Heads we go, tails we don’t’
The Blue Origin crew have completed the coin ceremony, which they’ll put in their flight suit for luck.
Upon receiving his coin, 90-year-old William Shatner quipped: “Heads we go, tails we don’t.”
They’ll now be heading over to the launch pad.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 14:11
Sun rises over Blue Origin launch pad
The sun is rising over West Texas, and we’re finally getting to see a proper view of the New Shepard rocket.
In a few minutes we should be getting an update from the crew members as they take part in the Blue Origin coin ceremony.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 14:05
Blue Origin pre-launch schedule
With just one hour to go until Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-18 mission lifts off.
Here’s what to expect over the next half hour:
T-44 mins: Go for astronaut load
T-40 mins: Drive to launch pad
T-38 mins: Ring road crew photo
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 14:00
Blue Origin crew set for coin ceremony
William Shatner and the rest of the New Shepard NS-18 crew are currently in the astronaut training facility, preparing for the launch.
They are about to partake in a coin ceremony that Blue Origin hopes to make a tradition for all future space tourism trips.
It will take place at roughly T-54 minutes, and will see crew members presented with these coins, just like Jeff Bezos was ahead of the first ever crewed flight three months ago.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 13:57
Blue Origin launch
One of the big question marks over today’s launch has been safety, following claims from former Blue Origin employees that certain protocols were not being met.
“We’re not in a test period anymore, we spent five years testing and now we are in the passenger phase,” the live stream host says. “Safety has never mattered more.”
Here’s how the rocket currently looks on the launchpad in West Texas.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 13:44
Blue Origin live stream sees less interest than SpaceX missions
There’s around 18,000 viewers currently watching the stream, which is considerably less than the live streams hosted by SpaceX for its launches. Tests of the Mars-bound Starship prototypes alone receive hundreds of thousands of live viewers.
Is interest in space tourism waning? Or are such trips already becoming normalised? We’re entering an exciting new era of space travel if that’s the case.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 13:39
Blue Origin launch live stream is here
With 90 minutes to go until lift-off, Blue Origin has begun its live stream of the launch.
The live webcast of New Shepard Mission NS-18 is currently just some text on a starry background, soundtracked by some pleasant sounding stringed instruments, but you can expect coverage from the launchpad imminently.
You can find it by scrolling up to the top of this page. If you scroll down again, you’ll still be able to see the video while also following the live blog.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 13:28
Blue Origin launch: Tweeting from space?
William Shatner gave a nod to that unforgettable performance in a series of tweets posted last night before bedtime.
The nonagenarian is an avid tweeter, and was one of the platform’s earliest adopters back in 2008.
Since then he has tweeted more than 100,000 times, averaging more than 20 tweets per day.
He’s not able to bring his phone on today’s flight but he claims to have “prearranged a little something” for when he’s in space.
Anthony Cuthbertson13 October 2021 12:44