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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Many ‘Star Trek’ fans are eager to see William Shatner boldly go to space.

The journey of Captain James T. Kirk and the Starship Enterprise in the 1960s created a fandom that grew exponentially over the decades, as did the cute but deadly chatter from the original Star Trek television series. Now, many Trek fans are thrilled when William Shatner, the man who embodies the role, prepares to go into space – for real.

“I think it’s fantastic for the Star Trek myths to have the guy who really started it all, to go to space,” said Russ Haslage, co-founder of the fan organization The Federation, also known as the International Trekkers with Gene Roddenberry. , creator of Star Trek in the 1980s.

Through the prism of Star Trek, human space travel usually takes on a pink tint. Much of the show’s universe takes place hundreds of years into the future, as humanity travels to the Milky Way, surviving a brutal 21st century. Homo sapiens is spreading from our solar system under the banner of the United Earth, a founding member of the United Federation of Planets, an egalitarian alliance of intelligent species. This vision, begun in the original series by Mr. Roddenberry, is the culmination of events started by Yuri Gagarin in 1961, when he became the first person to fly into space.

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Captain Kirk is arguably the most striking embodiment of the show’s lofty moralistic vision.

“He’s the guy at the center of it all,” said Mr. Haslage, who plans to comment live on the launch on the Federation’s YouTube and Facebook pages. “None of this would have happened without Captain Kirk.”

Karlie Creer, moderator of the over 150,000-member Facebook group Star Trek, grew up watching the original series with her father. Mr. Shatner is a regular attending the annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, which she often attends.

“If we didn’t have Captain Kirk and the amazing power he created, we wouldn’t have this amazing fandom that we have,” said Miss Creer.

The involvement of billionaires like Jeff Bezos in selling private space flights to wealthy clients has drawn strong criticism. But among fans like Ms. Creer there is admiration for what both NASA and private companies are working on.

“I really appreciated the involvement of SpaceX and Blue Origin,” she said. “I really think it’s just amazing. It was so wonderful to watch because as a Star Trek fan, all you need to do is see the future that Gene Roddenberry has created so well. “

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