William Shatner Now one can say that he has boldly gone where no man (his age) has gone before.
He’s certainly not the first person to travel to space, but as of Wednesday a “Star Trek” veteran oldest. At the age of 90, the actor joined Blue Origin, which was founded in 2000 by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, for its second manned space flight. Shatner and three others were launched aboard a New Shepard rocket from the aerospace company’s West Texas launch site just before 11 a.m. ET.
The crew returned safely to Earth several minutes later, when Shatner could be heard saying that the experience was “unlike anything they had described.” All four passengers on the plane gave their thumbs up on landing to let the recovery crew know that they were fine.
Bezos greeted passengers with double thumbs-ups outside the landing capsule, followed by applause from the passengers’ family and friends.
“In a way it’s indescribable,” Shatner told Bezos. “It’s not only different from what you thought, it happened so quickly. I had the impression that I never expected that shooting up: there’s a blue sky —” he paused as Bezos sprayed a bottle of champagne.
“Everyone in the world needs to do this. Everyone in the world needs to see this,” Shatner continued. “It was unbelievable. Little things – weightless – but to see the blue (of the sky) whipped by you and now you’re staring at the blackness. … and then it’s gone. It was so shaking. This experience did something unbelievable.”
An emotional Shatner reiterated to Bezos how in awe of what he saw and how it prompted him to contemplate life and death.
“What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine,” he told Bezos. “I hope I never recover from this.”
Viewers can watch the launch here Live stream of the USA Today event.
Shatner, best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in the “Star Trek” franchise, said in a press release on October 4 that he “has heard about space for a long time now” and “takes the opportunity to see it”. Were “himself.”
But Shatner also admitted to being nervous about going to space.
“I am frightened!” He said during New York Comic Con on Thursday, Space.com. “I know! … I’m Captain Killer Kirk and I’m scared!”
The launch was scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed the next day by strong winds as predicted. Blue Origin announced ahead of launch that it would last just 10 minutes, reaching a maximum altitude of about 66 miles before the fully automated capsule parachuting back into the desert.
Along with Shatner, spaceflight passengers on Blue Origin’s second human spaceflight included Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission and Flight Operations Audrey Powers, Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and technology entrepreneur, and founder of clinical trials software company Glen de Vries. The latter two passengers paid for the flight tickets – Blue Origin has not publicly disclosed the price of the tickets, however. Bezos previously said that the total number of tickets sold was close to $100 million..
A statement on Blue Origin’s website said the New Shepard NS-18 met all mission requirements and the astronauts were prepared through training.
Blue Origin’s first manned spacecraft launched on July 20, when it carried Bezos, Bezos’ brother Mark, Mercury 13 aviator Wally Funk (formerly the oldest person in space) and 18-year-old student Oliver Damen (son of a hedge fund manager). blew it up for suborbital space.
Contributions: Rob Landers, Florida Today; Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press, Martha Pskowski, The El Paso Times and John Bacon and Emre Kelly, USA Today