William Shatner, the 90-year-old actor, best known to the world for his portrayal as Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek, has become the oldest person to fly to space following Blue Origin’s NS-18 launch on Wednesday of the New Shepard, a suborbital space vehicle developed by Blue Origin.
Shatner said space was “unlike anything they described” and “unlike anything I’ve ever seen” following the success of Blue Origin’s NS-18 mission on Wednesday.
Blue Origin is owned by Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos as a commercial system for space tourism.
Named for Alan Shepard, the first U.S. astronaut, New Shepard launches from the high West Texas desert on an 11-minute flight, travelling at over three times the speed of sound to pass the Kármán Line at 100 km (62 mi), float weightless for several minutes, and witness life-changing views of Earth before descending gently under parachutes.
“What you have given me is the most profound experience,” Shatner told Bezos moments after exiting New Shepard’s capsule. “I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. I just I hope I never recover from this.”
“I hope that I can maintain what I feel now — I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me and life…It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death,” said Shatner.
“Everybody in the world needs to do this,” he added. “It was so moving.”
Blue Origin successfully completed its second human spaceflight on board New Shepard on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.
The flight included four astronauts, Dr. Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries, Audrey Powers, and Shatner, as well as thousands of postcards from Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future.
Now official astronauts, the crew was welcomed back from space with a celebration in the West Texas desert with family, friends, and the Blue Origin team.
“At Blue Origin, we are motivated by the dreamers that inspire us and the builders who turn those dreams into reality.,” said Bob Smith, CEO Blue Origin. “Today’s crew represented both dreamers and builders. We had the honor of flying our very own Audrey Powers, Vice President of New Shepard Operations, who fulfilled a lifelong dream to go to space and has been an integral part of building New Shepard.”
“Our two customers, Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries, have built their own successful ventures and have now realized their own dreams of space travel,” said Smith.
“And, as everyone knows, William Shatner has played an important role in describing and imagining the wonders of universe and inspired many of us to pursue a career in the space industry,” said Smith. “This flight was another step forward in flying astronauts safely and often. It’s an incredible team and we are just getting started.”
Blue Origin is planning one more crewed flight this year, with several more crewed flights planned for 2022.
You can also watch a full replay of today’s flight below.