William Shatner To Be Shot Into Space (Don't Worry, He's Coming Back)

William Shatner: actor, pop culture icon, and part-time Thanksgiving spokesperson warning of the pervasive dangers of turkey fryers. In an incredibly fitting instance of fact following fiction, the "Star Trek" actor most famous for going boldly where no one has gone before will soon be able to add "astronaut" to his expansive list of career accomplishments. Next month, Shatner is reportedly set to catch a ride with billionaire and private sector space explorer Jeff Bezos, becoming the oldest person to ever reach orbit in a demonstration of Bezos' flight capabilities — and a celebration of both Shatner and the lasting influence of Gene Roddenberry's vision of "Star Trek."

Shatner in Space

Tom Cruise and the Russian film industry aren't the only ones getting a chance to blast off into space these days.

With NASA increasingly looking towards privately-funded businesses for assistance in getting astronauts and equipment into orbit, yet another space race of sorts has rapidly begun to brew between billionaire entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson. While Musk's SpaceX company has far outpaced its rivals in terms of gaining lucrative government contracts and providing test-proven, reusable rockets for NASA's repeated use, and Branson is more focused on prestigious commercial flights, Bezos' Blue Origin has been trying to close the gap by making short suborbital flights (there are debates on whether these trips truly constitute reaching the limits of "space" or not) and bringing wealthy guests along for the ride.

The latest visitor will be none other than William Shatner, according to TMZ (via the Daily Beast). Lasting only around 15 minutes, the flight will reportedly be the focus of a documentary special that Shatner and his people have been shopping around to various platforms, such as Discovery. This won't be the first flight for this particular rocket, as it recently brought Bezos himself to the boundaries of space in July of this year. No price tag has been revealed just yet, as the highly in-demand tickets for seats on these exclusive flights have regularly reached into the range of tens of millions of dollars. The crew who will be flying with the actor is also currently unknown, although it is tempting to imagine Shatner channeling his inner Captain James T. Kirk and barking orders at an overworked but distinctive collection of bridge crew members on the USS Enterprise. To whoever will be joining him: just make sure you don't try and do any mediocre impressions of him as Kirk. Seriously, trust me on this.