Star Trek legend William Shatner fears the toughest part of his upcoming space flight will be getting in and out of his chair.
The veteran actor, 90, who has arthritis, is set to become the world’s oldest astronaut when he blasts off as part of a four-strong crew with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company.
Asked about his suborbital mission aboard the New Shepard craft, he said: “The only thing about age that has application to this particular vehicle is getting in and out of the seat with any kind of arthritis.
“So unless you’re really supple, getting in and out of the seats in weight, when we’re in gravity, is a chore,” said Shatner, who takes cannabis oil to ease arthritis in his joints.
The star, who played Captain Kirk aboard the Starship Enterprise, had previously said he was “terrified” at the prospect of a trip into the cosmos.
The launch marks 55 years since his debut as Captain Kirk in the cult-classic TV series.
Shatner will join Chris Boshuizen, founder of Earth-observation company Planet Labs; microbiologist Glen de Vries; and Blue Origin's Audrey Powers for blastoff on a 10-minute up-and-down flight out of the discernible atmosphere to the edge of space.
The take-off was delayed by a day due to windy weather at the Texas launchpad, with lift-off from Blue Origin's West Texas launch site now targeted for Wednesday.
At the age of 90, he’s due to become the world’s oldest person to visit space. That would rewrite a record that was set by 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk during Blue Origin’s first-ever crewed spaceflight in July.
He’s also arguably the highest-profile celebrity to go to space so far — eclipsing Jeff Bezos himself, who was one of Funk’s crewmates, as well as Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, who went on his own suborbital space trip just before Bezos did.
In an interview with Gayle King on CBS Mornings, Shatner said his actual motivation was "to have the vision".
He said: "I want to see space. I want to see the Earth. I want to see what we need to do to save Earth.
"I want to have a perspective that hasn't been shown to me before. That's what I'm interested in seeing."
Shatner tweeted when Blue Origin revealed he was joining the crew: "Yes, it's true; I'm going to be a 'rocket man!'"
"Welcome Mr. Shatner to our flight crew! We're going to have so much fun this week!" Boshuizen tweeted back.
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