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Captain Kirk to talk to Captain Canada

William Shatner is about to get beamed up to outer space, in real life.

The actor who played James T. Kirk in "Star Trek" won't actually be using a transporter room. He'll be chatting with space by phone.

On Thursday, the Montreal-born actor will be participating in a call with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who is currently aboard the International Space Station.

Hadfield will also be visible on a video link, which will be broadcast on the Canadian Space Agency's website.

Their hailing frequency was opened last month, as the men had a brief exchange on Twitter.

Using his best Trekkie vocabulary, Hadfield confirmed to the fictional starship captain that he was in "standard orbit" and had detected signs of life on the surface.

The Canadian Space Agency subsequently reached out to Shatner and invited the 81-year-old actor for a longer chat.

It has arranged a 10-minute conversation Thursday morning from L.A. Hadfield's video link will be carried live on the CSA's website.

But chatting by phone will probably be the only way that Shatner will actually reach beyond the Earth's atmosphere, because he's not actually enthralled with the idea of space travel.

It was widely reported several years ago that he was offered a ticket on one of the suborbital flights being planned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. Shatner said at the time that Branson had offered him a spot which would have cost US$200,000.

After performing a quick risk-benefit assessment, the Star Trek legend decided to take a pass.

"I said, 'Well, that ($200,000 ticket is) not much. How much do you guarantee to come back?' And he didn't have a price on that," Shatner said at a 2011 news conference at his alma mater, McGill University.

"(Branson) 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."

The Canadian Press


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