90-Year-Old ‘Star Trek’ Actor William Shatner Becomes The Oldest Person To Fly To Space
After a brief voyage to the edge of space this morning, Blue Origin’s second human spaceflight has returned to Earth. William Shatner, the actor who first played the space-traveling Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise, was one of the four passengers on board.
“The covering of blue. This sheet, this blanket, this comforter that we have around. We think, oh, that’s blue sky,” an emotional Shatner said after returning to earth.
“Then suddenly you shoot through it all of the sudden, as though you’re whipping a sheet of you when you’re asleep, and you’re looking into blackness, into black ugliness.”
Shatner is now the oldest person to fly into space, at the age of 90. New Shepard, the rocket, launched at 9:50 a.m. CT from a launch site in Van Horn, Texas. A Blue Origin employee and two paying customers accompanied Shatner on the flight.
Blue Origin’s owner, billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, was on hand for the launch and shook the hands of all four passengers as they boarded the New Shepard. The rocket is named after Alan Shepard, an American astronaut. The suborbital journey took around ten minutes in total. The four travelers felt weightless during a portion of the journey.
The apogee altitude of 351,000 feet was reached by the capsule (about 66 miles up). It then plummeted back to earth, landing in the west Texas desert under a canopy of parachutes.
In July, Bezos and three other people boarded Blue Origin’s first human mission. Wednesday’s flight comes just two weeks after a group of 21 current and former Blue Origin employees published an essay accusing the space company’s top executives of creating a toxic atmosphere that allows for sexual harassment and occasionally compromises on safety. The charges were disputed by Blue Origin.
The trip marks another significant milestone for the burgeoning space tourism business, which, according to UBS, may be worth $3 billion per year in a decade. The flight, which had been scheduled on Tuesday, was moved back a day due to wind.