Blue Origin announced actor William Shatner and Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations, will fly on board New Shepard NS-18. They will join crewmates Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries for the flight which will now lift off from Launch Site One on 13 October. The flight originally scheduled for 12 October, has been postponed due to forecasted winds on Tuesday.
About the crew
Perhaps one of the the most notable stars of TV and film, William Shatner’s career has spanned 60 years. He originated the role of “Captain James T. Kirk” in 1966 for the television series Star Trek. The series spawned a feature film franchise where he returned as Captain Kirk in seven of the Star Trek movies, one of which he directed. He has long wanted to travel to space and will become the oldest person to have flown to space.
William is currently the host and executive producer of The UnXplained on The History Channel. From the producers of Ancient Aliens and The Curse of Oak Island, the one-hour, non-fiction series explores the world’s most fascinating, strange and inexplicable mysteries.
“I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle,” said William Shatner. At 90 years young, Shatner will surpass the record set just a couple of months ago by Wally Funk, 82, to be the oldest person to fly to the edge of space.
Audrey Powers joined Blue Origin in 2013 and oversees all New Shepard flight operations, vehicle maintenance, and launch, landing, and ground support infrastructure. In collaboration with New Shepard’s Safety & Mission Assurance team, Test & Flight Operations, Chief Engineers, and external partners, she played a lead role in the multi-year process to certify New Shepard for human flight. Prior to leading New Shepard’s Mission and Flight Operations team, she served as Deputy General Counsel and Vice President of Legal & Compliance for Blue Origin, overseeing a wide variety of legal, regulatory and policy matters.
Audrey worked as an engineer for almost a decade before becoming a lawyer. As a guidance and controls engineer, she was a flight controller for NASA with 2,000 hours of console time in Mission Control for the International Space Station Program. In addition to serving as executive sponsor of Blue Origin’s New Mercury gender diversity business resource group, she is a pilot and serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
“I’m so proud and humbled to fly on behalf of Team Blue, and I’m excited to continue writing Blue’s human spaceflight history,” said Audrey Powers. “I was part of the amazing effort we assembled for New Shepard’s Human Flight Certification Review, a years-long initiative completed in July 2021. As an engineer and lawyer with more than two decades of experience in the aerospace industry, I have great confidence in our New Shepard team and the vehicle we’ve developed.”
Chris Boshuizen is a 44-year-old Australian who earned his doctorate at the University of Sydney and has dedicated his life to space. He later moved to the US to work as a space mission architect at NASA Ames Research Center, and later co-founded of Planet Labs. He's now a venture capitalist living in San Francisco.
Glen de Vries is the co-founder of Medidata Solutions, the world's most used clinical research platform, and is Vice Chair Life Sciences & Healthcare at Dassault Systèmes. Glen is a Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University, the author of “The Patient Equation,” and an instrument rated private pilot.
This flight follows Blue Origin’s successful first human flight on July 20 which included along with Funk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and Blue Origin’s first customer, Oliver Daemen.