Virgin CEO Richard Branson gave Captain Kirk the chance to go into space. William Shatner turned him down, and Branson says it’s because Shatner is afraid to fly.
Needless to say, this is a tale that beggars belief. Let’s look a little deeper.
Virgin Galactic is a commercial spaceflight company. Their plan is to offer suborbital spaceflights to space tourists. Given William Shatner’s name built on his Star Trek persona, and that he is still involved in NASA programs from time to time, Richard Branson spoke to the actor about booking a seat on one of these suborbital flights.
"He actually said he’s frightened of airline travel — which is slightly disillusioning. Captain Kirk is scared of flying," Branson said.
This gets even more disillusioning when you know that the name of the vessel Shatner would be aboard is the VSS Enterprise (Virgin SpaceShip).
But Shatner has a bit more to say on the subject. He said that Branson wanted him to buy a ticket, which would be about $200,000.
“I said, 'Well, that’s not much, how much do you guarantee to come back?' And he didn’t have a price on that,” joked Shatner.
"He wanted me to go up and pay for it and I said: 'Hey, you pay me and I’ll go up. I’ll risk my life for a large sum of money.’ But he didn’t pick me up on my offer.”
Even if Shatner won’t live up to his Star Trek reputation on his own dime, lots of other celebs are signing on and plunking down the fee. The rock band Muse is all fired up to go, as are Stephen Hawking, Tom Hanks, Ashton Kutcher, Katy Perry, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie.
The flight launches from an airplane already in flight, so they are not blasting off from ground. It lasts about two hours and includes about six minutes of weightlessness in sub-orbit.
Image via YouTube