From one Canadian astronaut to another, former astronaut Chris Hadfield is encouraging William Shatner to follow the wise words of Captain James T. Kirk as he prepares himself for a real-life explosion: “Go boldly “
Hadfield said he quoted the “Star Trek” star’s iconic chant in a note Wednesday wishing him well for his journey aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket ship.
The flight was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but Blue Origin has announced that it is being delayed by 24 hours due to forecasts of high winds.
Trekkie Hadfield, a self-identified man who commanded the International Space Station, said he is thrilled that after decades of service in the fictional spacefleet, the Quebec-raised actor will soon experience the ultimate frontier for himself.
“I think it’s great that a little kid from Montreal, who played a great starship captain who inspired me as a kid, is now really weightless and going into space and looking at the world from above.” Looking at the curve,” Hadfield said in an interview.
Shatner had a chance to get Hadfield’s thoughts on space travel while floating aboard the International Space Station in 2013.
He had a question about how Hadfield deals with fears about the dangers of spaceflight, a concern that may be on Shatner’s mind in the lead-up to Wednesday’s launch.
But Hadfield said Shatner shouldn’t sweat, suggesting that the “traveller” actor’s time on stage should serve him well in space.
“They’ve done a lot of live theater, and there’s pressure that your entire reputation depends on your preparation and your skills,” said Hadfield, whose debut novel, “The Apollo Murders,” hits shelves Tuesday.
“He’s a super experienced and interesting and self-driven guy. He’ll be fine.”
However, Shatner’s journey through the stratosphere will be quite different from Captain Kirk’s space adventures, Hadfield said.
While Shatner operated the USS Enterprise as a cast, he would be a passenger on Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-18 capsule, Hadfield said.
And instead of traversing the universe, Shatner’s 10-minute flight would reach an altitude of no more than about 106 kilometers before the rocket landed on the desert floor of West Texas, from where it took off.
“It’s like the difference between diving in a swimming pool and swimming the Atlantic,” Hadfield said.
“It’s a completely physical, personal, psychological experience for them. Whereas the character they portray on ‘Star Trek,’ or the reality of my space flight experience, is their life. That’s where they live. The environment defines who they are.”
At the age of 90, Shatner will also have the distinction of becoming the oldest person to go into space.
When it comes to the risks of space flight, Hadfield said age is just a number, and there are a variety of medical factors that determine whether a rocket can safely sustain the rigors of launch and re-entry. Yes or No.
While professional astronauts tend to be in extreme physical condition, Hadfield said the health requirements for space tourists are very low, and he is confident Shatner is in ship shape.
“It’s a very gentle flight profile,” he said. “If you’d trust your 90-year-old relative on a really rough roller-coaster, I think you can count on him on this particular spacecraft.”
Hadfield objected to the suggestion that he offer Shatner any words of advice, insisting that the actor’s wealth of life experience should prepare him well for takeoff.
But if he had one tip to share, it would be to enjoy the ride.
“Make the most of it. Don’t miss the experience of worrying about the accessories,” he said. “Really soak it up.”
–With files from The Associated Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 11, 2021.