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William Shatner Blasts Off Into Space on Blue Origin Rocket

William Shatner
Actor William Shatner, who famously played Captain Kirk in Star Trek, finally took a real trip to space aboard the Blue Origin rocket on Wednesday. Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

William Shatner, who played the beloved character of Captain Kirk in the iconic American television series Star Trek, finally blasted off into space himself Wednesday morning aboard the Blue Origin rocket “New Shepard,” owned by Jeff Bezos.

The rocket, which was designed to take paying passengers into space as tourists, has now successfully completed its second trip into space, after carrying its founder, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, as well as three other paying passengers, on its first flight in July.

After teaching down again on Earth, in the desert of West Texas, Shatner shared his very moving thoughts on finally reaching space in the ninetieth year of his life. ” 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… whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

News crews covering the landing swarmed the capsule after the hatch was opened and Bezos sprayed the space travelers with a bottle of champagne, later giving pins to each of them to commemorate the moment, telling them that they were “part of a very select group of people” to have made such a flight into space.

Blue Origin first launched into history on July 20, 2021, with the retail maven aboard the first crewed rocket, which was named “New Shepard” in a tribute to space pioneer Alan Shepard. The space shot included the oldest and youngest people to have ever flown in space.

Just weeks after fellow billionaire Sir Richard Branson himself entered space as part of his Virgin Galactic launch, Bezos and his Blue Origin made his mark on private spaceflight.

They join fellow entrepreneur Elon Musk, who successfully launched his own space exploration company, SpaceX, launching a rocket and successfully touching down into the sea.

William Shatner now oldest human to reach space

The Blue Origin capsule hit speeds of more than three times the speed of sound before it reached 80 kilometers in altitude (about 262,000 feet), which is considered the edge of space. The fortunate crew, including Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk — the first woman to undergo Astronaut training back in the 1960’s — floated in near-her gravity for a couple minutes before returning to Earth.

Founded in 2000 by Jeff Bezos, the founder and executive chairman of Amazon, Blue Origin is led by CEO Bob Smith. It aims to make access to space cheaper and more reliable through reusable launch vehicles.

Rob Meyerson led Blue Origin from 2003 to 2017 and served as its first president. Blue Origin is employing an incremental approach from suborbital to orbital flight, with each developmental step building on its prior work. The company’s name refers to the blue planet, Earth, as its point of origin.

The 90-year-old Canadian actor was invited to accompany Bezos and the rest of his crew on Blue Origin’s trip to space.

The flight in July will be the prototype for today’s trip to the edge of space. Shatner will be propelled into space for a 15-minute civilian flight where he will experience zero gravity for several minutes. The flight will take the same rocket as last time, “New Shepard,” a nod to the Alan Shepard, America’s first man to go into space.

It launched from the company’s west Texas site after several delays having to do with crosswinds at the launch site.

The other members of the crew besides Shatner include Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, a co-founder of Medidata Solutions, and Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations.

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