American actor William Shatner who played ‘Captain Kirk’ in the original Sci-Fi ‘Star Trek’ series, visited the edge of space atop a Blue Origin rocket on Wednesday, October 13. Shatner became the oldest person to ever visit space at 90-years-old. Shatner lifted off at 9:51 a.m. Central Time from Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site One. The 60-foot-tall New Shepard rocket ignited its engines and propelled the capsule up past the Karman Line, which marks the beginning of outer space at an altitude of 100 kilometers (km).
It is the company’s second space tourist mission known as 'NS-18.' Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos was aboard his company’s first crewed suborbital flight, alongside legendary aviator 82-year-old Wally Funk - who previously held the record of the oldest person in space. As a Star Trek fan Bezos invited Shatner to experience spaceflight as a guest alongside: Planet Labs Co-Founder Chris Boshuizen and Software Executive Glen de Vries, who both paid for the spaceflight. Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations Audrey Powers also joined them on the once-in-a-lifetime experience. “At Blue Origin, we are motivated by the dreamers that inspire us and the builders who turn those dreams into reality. Today’s crew represented both dreamers and builders," the company said.
This was the voyage of the RSS First Step today. Its mission: encounter Earth from incredible views at apogee pic.twitter.com/Gzsnkv97K9— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) October 13, 2021
The crew’s spaceflight lasted approximately 10-minutes from takeoff to landing. They unstrapped out of the capsule’s seats and got to experience zero-gravity for around 3 minutes and see beautiful views of the Earth. Then they quickly strapped back into their seats to descend, a set of parachutes were deployed out the capsule to slowly land on tierra firma. “[…] What you have given me is the most profound experience, I am so filled with emotion, just extraordinary,” Shatner told Bezos soon after emerging out of the capsule. “I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now.”
“[…] The covering of blue. This sheet, this blanket, this comforter that we have around. We think, oh, that's blue sky,” Shatner described his voyage, “Then suddenly you shoot through it all of the sudden, as though you're whipping a sheet off you when you're asleep, and you're looking into blackness, into black ugliness. And you look down and there’s the blue down there… and the black up there and it’s… just… there is Mother Earth. [...] It was so moving to me, this experience …it’s something unbelievable. [...],” he said.
“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, diverting myself in now & then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me,” he wrote via Twitter after landing. He also shared an image of the Blue Origin feather logo infront of a yellow background shaped like the Star Trek logo, pictured below.
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, diverting myself in now & then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.🚀 pic.twitter.com/ZY2Ka8ij7z— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) October 13, 2021
SpaceX founder Elon Musk wished Shatner a great trip –“Godspeed Captain,” he wrote in response to a NASA post that announced the agency awarded Shatner a “Distinguished Public Service Medal” for inspiring an entire generation to look at the stars. The award was given to Shatner over the weekend at his annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show, dedicated to fundraising for children’s charities and nonprofit organizations. The citation for the medal reads, “For outstanding generosity and dedication to inspiring new generations of explorers around the world, and for unwavering support for NASA and its missions of discovery.”
“William Shatner has been so generous with his time and energy in encouraging students to study science and math, and for inspiring generations of explorers, including many of the astronauts and engineers who are a part of NASA today,” said David Weaver, NASA’s associate administrator for the Office of Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “He's most deserving of this prestigious award.” You can watch Blue Origin’s second crewed mission in the video linked below.
Godspeed Captain— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 13, 2021
VIDEO: Blue Origin Second Suborbital Space Tour
Featured Image Source: Blue Origin