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William Shatner goes to space on historic flight

The crew of Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-18 mission, from left: Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries. (Image credit: Blue Origin)


William Shatner goes to space on historic flight


William Shatner has launched into space by Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.

Shatner, well known for his roles in the original “Star Trek” series and the first six films in the “Star Trek” film franchise, joined Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin on its second-ever human spaceflight. Just before 11 a.m. ET, Shatner and three others were launched aboard a New Shepard rocket from the aerospace company’s West Texas launch facility.

The team lifted off on a hydrogen-fueled rocket for 10 minutes and 17 seconds, ascended to the edge of space 65.8 miles above, and experienced three to four minutes of weightlessness, along with breathtaking views of Earth, before plummeting back to a soft parachute-assisted landing.

The rocket, which separated from the capsule after launching the crew into space, also made a successful upright landing about seven minutes after liftoff, landing roughly 2 miles (3 kilometers) north of the launchpad.

As the capsule parachuted back to Earth, Shatner was heard stating via a radio link, “That was unlike anything they described.”

After landing, he informed Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos, “Everybody in the world needs to do this. That was unbelievable.”


Shatner reportedly achieved a height of over 350,000 feet and a speed of around 2,000 miles per hour, according to a live webcast of the historic event.

The New Shepard rocket launches on October 13, 2021, from the West Texas region, 25 miles (40kms) north of Van Horn. – “Star Trek” actor William Shatner is going to where no 90-year-old has gone on Blue Origin’s second crewed mission, NS-18. He will be joined on the New Shepard rocket by Blue Origins Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations, Audrey Powers; Planet Labs co-founder, Chris Boshuizen, and Medidata Solutions Co-Founder, Glen de Vries. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

“I’m going up into space. I don’t know how many people can say that,” Shatner said in a pre-recorded video played prior to the launch. “There’s a great deal of curiosity about this fictional character Captain Kirk going into space, so let’s go along with it and enjoy the ride.”

Shatner and his crewmates were seen floating around the cabin as the spaceship entered orbit, all of them fixated on the view outside as they unbuckled and walked around without regard for up and down. Shatner appeared fascinated, silently looking out into space and down to the beautiful globe 65 miles below.

Shatner has broken the record for the oldest person to go to space established by 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk, who traveled on Blue Origin’s first crewed mission with the company’s creator Jeff Bezos on July 20.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard space capsule parachutes down to the landing site after a sub-orbital flight with a crew of four including “Star Trek” actor William Shatner aboard.

The New Shepard NS-18 mission was supposed to take place on Tuesday, but it was postponed owing to windy conditions at the launch site in Texas.

New Shepard NS-18 satisfied all mission criteria, according to a statement on Blue Origin’s website, and the astronauts were prepared via training.

After the trip, de Vries told reporters at the base of their booster that flying with Captain Kirk was “the ultimate manifestation of science fiction becoming science.” But, with our pal Bill, we travelled to space.”

“Scared little Billy, frightened Bill,” Shatner joked. “I’m so glad you said that. Captain Kirk is a fictional figure. I’m flesh and blood.”

“I can’t think of a better ambassador for humanity’s future than his character James T. Kirk on Star Trek and that amazing future,” Boshuizen said. “So to fly with a true ambassador for what we can become on this planet, I think it’s fantastic.”

Shatner, or Captain Kirk, isn’t the first “Star Trek” actor to travel into space; that honor belongs to NASA astronaut Mae Jemison, who featured in a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode. (Jemison was the first Black woman to go to space when she worked as a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 1992.) The ashes of James Doohan, who played Scotty on Star Trek, and Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who voiced the computer and played Lwaxana Troi on The Next Generation, as well as those of Trek founder Gene Roddenberry, have been sent into space.

In a news release on Oct. 4, Shatner stated, “I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle.”

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