William Shatner, whose portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk on the starship Enterprise in the 1960s TV show “Star Trek” made him an icon, landed midmorning Oct. 13 in west Texas aboard the Blue Origin New Shepard space ship built and funded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Shatner, 90, becomes the oldest person ever to enter space. The Canadian-born actor, along with Audrey Powers, VP of Blue Origin, and two paying customers, flew into space on the 11-minute flight — Blue Origin’s second manned flight — to reach a peak altitude of 66 miles above Earth.
Upon landing, Shatner was overcome with emotion, calling the trip bigger than his presence and something everyone should experience. He said the contrast between space’s blackness and the blue of Earth underscored the fragility of the planet’s atmosphere and sustaining life.
“What you have given me is the most profound experience,” Shatner told Bezos after exiting the space craft. “I am so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s just extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this.”
“Star Trek” captain James T. Kirk is headed to outer space for real. William Shatner, the 90-year-old actor who played the venerable space explorer, will be aboard the second flight of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin New Shepard NS-18 space craft when it blasts off Oct. 12.
Joining Shatner will be Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s VP of mission and flight operations, and crewmates Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries.
“I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle,” Shatner said in a statement.
Shatner’s career as an actor, director, producer, writer, recording artist and horseman has spanned 60 years. He originated the role of “Captain Kirk” in 1966 for the television series “Star Trek.” The series spawned a feature film franchise in which Shatner returned as Kirk in seven of the “Trek” movies, one of which he directed. He has long wanted to travel to space and will become the oldest person to have flown to space.
Shatner is currently the host and executive producer of “The UnXplained” on The History Channel. From the producers of “Ancient Aliens” and “The Curse of Oak Island,” the one-hour nonfiction series explores the world’s most fascinating, strange and inexplicable mysteries.
Amazon founder Bezos, his brother Mark, Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen and 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk were aboard the inaugural Blue Origin flight that takes about 11 minutes and soars past the Kármán Line, the internationally recognized boundary of space.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has announced that he and his brother, along with an auction winner, will be aboard his Blue Origin aerospace manufacturer’s first manned spaceflight in July.
The New Shepherd spacecraft will reportedly lift off from a facility in Van Horn, Texas. In addition to Bezos and his brother Mark, the 30-minute flight will include the winner of an ongoing live auction that has seen 6,000 entries from more than 140 countries push the winning seat price to $2.8 million. The craft will reportedly reach the edge of space, allowing passengers to float within the capsule, before returning to Earth.
Blue Origin will donate the winning seat price bid to its foundation promoting space exploration among younger generations.
Bezos, who made the announcement on social media, has long been a fan of private commercial space travel and exploration, including seeding Blue Origin with $500 million in funding in 2016. Bezos is reportedly the world’s richest man with a net worth of $186 billion.