Blue Origin’s New Shepard is set to launch Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. CST.By Amy Wadas

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In just a matter of days, Blue Origin’s New Shepard will be blasting off into space from its West Texas launch site.

There will be four crew members aboard, and one of them has ties to Pittsburgh.

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Glen de Vries is a graduate and current trustee at Carnegie Mellon University. He said he can’t wait to go to space, a dream he’s been chasing since he was a kid.

“I’m still absorbing how exciting it’s going to be to go to space,” de Vries said.

(Photo Credit: Blue Origin)

The 49-year-old is also vice-chair of life sciences and healthcare for a tech company in New York. He said this launch is the moment he’s been waiting for.

“In the last couple of days, I’ve had people who have known me since I was in second grade, even some in kindergarten, and said I can’t believe you’re finally going to space. You’ve been talking about it your whole life,” de Vries said.

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De Vries will be joined by three other crew members, including actor William Shatner — who’s famously known for playing Captain Kirk in “Star Trek.” While this journey won’t be aboard the Starship Enterprise, it’s one Shatner said he’s also looking forward to once he shakes off the nerves.

“I’ll be happy when we go up and we are in weightlessness and know we are safe and everything else should be all right,” Shatner said.

“We won’t be up there that long, but we will be up there enough time to look out that window,” de Vries said.

De Vries said the group has grown very close throughout the training process. Meantime, while this will be a short mission, de Vries hopes it’s a monumental one.

“The point is to make this the blast-off moment for the space industry, whether it’s being able to go up into an area above the atmosphere and look down at Earth and understand how fragile and precious our planet is,” de Vries said. “Or from a technical point, get off the planet and manufacture things you can’t manufacture when you’re in a gravity environment like we have here.”

That’s the goal of Blue Origin, which was founded by Jeff Bezos with the vision of enabling a future where millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth.

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Blue Origin’s New Shepard is set to launch Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. CST after it was pushed back a day due to forecasted windy conditions in Texas.