William Shatner will be the oldest person to fly in space with Blue Origin launch

Actor William Shatner, best known for his role as Capt. James T. Kirk on Star Trek, speaks to attendees at the annual GEOINT Symposium, June 5, 2017.
William Shatner will be the oldest person to go to space with his Oct. 12 spaceflight. (Image credit: USGIF)

Now 90 years old, William Shatner will soon be the oldest person who's ever flown to space. 

Shatner, an actor who made history in his role as James T. Kirk, the first-ever "Star Trek" captain in the original series, which premiered in 1966, will soon fly to space and, in doing so, make history. On Oct. 12, Shatner will launch to space and back as a passenger on a suborbital flight aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle.

With this short jaunt, Shatner will become the oldest person to ever reach space.

Related: William Shatner's Blue Origin launch on New Shepard: Live updates
More: Aviation pioneer Wally Funk, the oldest person in space, can't wait to go back

For the last few months, legendary aviator Wally Funk, one of the famous "Mercury 13," as they were later dubbed, has held the title of the oldest person to fly to space. At age 82, she made her first spaceflight as a passenger aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle with the company's first crewed spaceflight on July 20. 

Funk, in turn, broke NASA astronaut John Glenn's previous record. Glenn, who, in 1962 became the first American to orbit Earth as well as the third American in space as part of NASA's Project Mercury, became the oldest person to reach space in 1998. At the age of 77, he flew to space as a payload specialist with NASA's space shuttle mission STS-95 aboard the shuttle Discovery.

Other notable age records in space are held by Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson who, at 71, became the oldest man on a suborbital spaceflight with the company's first crewed spaceflight, Unity 22, that launched on July 11; and Peggy Whitson, who still holds the title for the oldest woman to fly aboard an orbital spaceflight. In 2017, Whitson turned 57 while completing a 289-day mission aboard the International Space Station. 

Email Chelsea Gohd at cgohd@space.com or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.


Chelsea Gohd joined Space.com as an intern in the summer of 2018 and returned as a Staff Writer in 2019. After receiving a B.S. in Public Health, she worked as a science communicator at the American Museum of Natural History. Chelsea has written for publications including Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine, Live Science, All That is Interesting, AMNH Microbe Mondays blog, The Daily Targum and Roaring Earth. When not writing, reading or following the latest space and science discoveries, Chelsea is writing music, singing, playing guitar and performing with her band Foxanne (@foxannemusic). You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd.