Canadian actor William Shatner has become real-life Captain Kirk now. The Star Trek icon is all set to travel aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin New Shepard vehicle and grabbing the title of ‘oldest person to leave Earth’.
The Emmy Award-winning actor made history on Wednesday. Taking off from Launch Site One in West Texas around 10:50 a.m. ET, Shatner was one of four crew members aboard the New Shepard rocket for the NS-18 mission.
According to Entertainment Weekly, as the capsule descended to Earth, Shatner said, “That was unlike anything they described. That’s unlike anything I’ve ever [experienced].”
The 90-year-old Star Trek alum was joined by Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations, as well as crew members Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries.
In a video that aired during Blue Origin’s live stream, speaking of the joy that space travel can bring, Shatner said, “It’s life-changing in its way, not because of the aerial adventure, but because of the people I’m meeting. We’re just at the beginning, but how miraculous that beginning is — how extraordinary it is to be part of that beginning.”
Bezos joined the crew wearing his own flight suit on the launch pad before Shatner, Powers, Boshuizen, and de Vries entered the space vehicle and made final preparations for takeoff. The Amazon billionaire took the honors of closing the hatch. Bezos revealed on Instagram that Shatner is taking along a special possession for him.
Bezos wrote, “I made these tricorders and communicator to play Star Trek with my friends when I was 9 years old, and my incredible mom saved them for 48 years. She dug them up this past week, and @WilliamShatner has agreed to take them up into space for me tomorrow,” he added. “Please don’t judge me for the artwork. Thank you, Bill!”
According to Blue Origin’s official website, the New Shepard suborbital vehicle can seat six astronauts, and since the ship is “fully autonomous,” there is no pilot. The reusable craft’s 11-minute flights are “designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line — the internationally recognized boundary of space,” the company’s website says.
Originally scheduled to lift off on Tuesday, Blue Origin announced over the weekend that the mission would be delayed a day because of weather. During an appearance at New York Comic Con last week, the actor discussed his big voyage, touching on the risks that come with space flight. “I’m Captain Kirk, and I’m terrified going to space,” he added. “You know, I’m not really terrified. Yes, I am. It comes and goes like a summer cold.”
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